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Progress made toward new library in Viroqua

Progress made toward new library in Viroqua

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The old going to the new

The silhouette of architect Terry Martin can be seen as he points to an area on a previous drawing that identified where a new Viroqua library could be located. The drawing (above) showed the concept of "The Viroqua Center" in early 2012. After Thanksgiving, new drawings will be available showing a revamped interior drawing of the 18,000-square-foot library project in Viroqua. Drafts of what the exterior could look like will be available sometime in 2013.

The McIntosh Memorial Library Board has signed a contract with a construction company as part of its efforts to build a new library.

Library director Trina Erickson said the library board signed a contract with Tricon Construction this summer and the board continues to work with architect Terry Martin, who has moved from the firm of PSA Dewberry and launched his own architectural firm, (r)evolution architecture.

Erickson said since April, when the city of Viroqua approved allowing the library to move forward with a capital campaign, a lot of work has gone into the details of signing the contract with Tricon.

"Signing a contract took a long time to get the language down, because it was about a 50-page document and it was very complicated," Erickson said.

Since that contract was signed, Erickson said the library staff has had two meetings with Martin on the rough design of the projected 18,000-square-foot library, which could cost approximately $5 million.

 "We're just beginning the process of looking at… the big square of what the library is, and then trying to fit the pieces inside," Erickson said.

Erickson said the plan could fluctuate depending on many factors, including the success of fundraising. Erickson said the board has signed a contract with fundraiser Jodi Sweeney to conduct its capital campaign. Erickson said design work needs to be complete to give potential donors something to get behind.

"It's hard to talk to donors if they can't even picture (the library)," Erickson said. "We need to go through some more of the process before we can even tackle a capital campaign."

Erickson said rough drawings of locations of items in the library could become available after Thanksgiving, but things like what the exterior of the building will look like, or details such as fixtures and furniture won't be included.

Erickson said the library has had a good relationship with Martin although he located his office to Panama Beach City, Fla. Erickson said that modern technology allows meetings with the architect and communication to occur without problems.

The library continues to meet with Western Technical College regarding the common space it will share with the library as a connecting area. The library is to be built on the site of the former Gundersen-Vig Clinic in Viroqua adjacent to Western's Viroqua campus.

The library had been considered part of a larger project called "The Viroqua Center," which would include space for performing arts and business training. The city council in April approved allowing the capital campaign for the library, but made it separate from some other entities that had been a part of the Viroqua Center -- including the areas for performing arts and business training.

After the Broadcaster's print deadline on Tuesday, Dean Saner sent the newspaper an e-mail that included an update on "The Workshop" portion of The Viroqua Center.

"The status right now would be best described as in the 'development' stage," according to Saner. "We are team players and are staying out of the limelight as the library gets into its fundraising.  Hopefully, the community is beginning to understand that the mission of the Workshop has evolved: What was first more of a 'theater' is now a multi-purpose, multi-form space in service to business, education, and the arts. Continuing to view our portion of the Viroqua Center as a dynamic magnet to downtown, we hope to complement other venues and services in Viroqua by providing day-in, day-out accessibility to state-of-the-art facilities."

Saner said those who want more information on The Workshop can access its website at www.theworkshopviroqua.org

Erickson said that a $500,000 community development block grant received by the library for the new library project included stipulations that the money be used in conjunction with community space and a senior citizen's center, so the library's design plans include space that could be used as a community room.

"We are exploring the senior center as being part of the library umbrella," Erickson said. "…We're keeping that concept alive, exploring how we can build a nice community room and also have it useable by the seniors in the community."

Erickson said since the city council's action in April, a lot of work has gone into the effort to build a new library, but it hasn't been relatively noteworthy for the community. That should change after Thanksgiving when the first rough designs become available.

"A lot of people have asked me, 'What has been going on with the library project?,'" Erickson said. "There have been things happening, it just hasn't been real exciting news."

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