New Richmond's Library Board selects architectAfter an extensive review and interview process, the New Richmond Library Board has chosen an architectural firm that will lead the push for a new facility.
By: By Jeff Holmquist, New Richmond News
After an extensive review and interview process, the New Richmond Library Board has chosen an architectural firm that will lead the push for a new facility.
Cuningham Group out of Minneapolis was among the five finalists interviewed Dec. 18-19. The firm was chosen over previous architectural firm River Architects, and new comers Engberg Anderson; Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle; and Short Elliot Hendrickson.
“We are pretty happy with our decision,” said Scott Vrieze, the library director. “The consensus was that they were our best candidate.”
Vrieze said Cuningham Group has significant experience with library design projects, and has specific experience in designing libraries that are eventually attached to existing structures.
That experience is key, Vrieze said, as the current construction priority calls for a new library building to be added to the Community Commons (the old New Richmond Middle School).
“They made a very good case for themselves,” Vrieze said of Cuningham Group. “They showed they are passionate about our project. That passion for the project was very important to us.”
Vrieze said the previous architectural firm that the community worked with, River Architects, was also a solid contender in the selection process. But the Library Board decided some new blood might be helpful.
“There’s a certain appeal to starting fresh with a new firm,” he said.
Vrieze said Cuningham Group is committed to working closely with the community to collect ideas and suggestions prior to developing the final plans. He said community engagement was important to the Library Board.
“We want to get people’s take on it,” Vrieze said.
The cost of the design phase of the library project will total about $56,000, according to Vrieze. About $10,000 of that cost will be offset by a $10,000 donation from Bosch Packaging Technologies, which celebrated its recently announced Green Tier II status with the community donation.
Now that the architect is hired, engineers will immediately begin meeting with library employees, city employees, library officials and school officials to begin the conversation about the goals the community has for a new library.
Vrieze said two or three community meetings will be scheduled in February and the public will be asked to attend and provide their input on the building plans.
By June or July, Vrieze said he expects conceptual drawings to be completed for the community to view and comment on.
For more than a decade, New Richmond library backers have been dreaming about building a new facility to meet the growing demands of patrons.
A space needs study was completed in 1998. Proposals, drawings and lengthy debates have been part of the public process ever since.
According to Vrieze, the local public library has been operating beyond its current building’s capacity for about 10 years.