New Lewes Public Library plans advance

Interior conceptual design is modern-contemporary
A first series of interior conceptual views of the new Lewes Public Library has been well-received by design panels that provided ideas for features and appearance used by Becker-Morgan Group architects. The firm used library spaces and patron areas based on panel input to develop initial conceptual interior views. COURTESY LEWES PUBLIC LIBRARY/BECKER MORGAN GROUP
February 7, 2014

The new Lewes Public Library’s interior design is now the focus as panels work with architects and interior designers to create the environment patrons will see and touch on every visit.

Subcommittees have worked with architects for the past couple months to define the size and placement of areas for library patrons and staff to ensure that design specifications and requirements are met.

Using input and modifications from prior work sessions, architects presented a revised floor plan reflecting each subcommittee’s criteria.

The design committee unanimously approved the plan at its January meeting and have submitted it to the library board. With board approval, the project will move to the construction development phase.

Brad Hastings, Becker Morgan Group lead architect, said further floor plan design changes are expected, but only as a result of architectural or engineering requirements. He said if changes were needed they would be minor.

Project on schedule

The project is moving forward on schedule as planned said Ned Butera, Lewes Public Library board vice president and design committee chairman. He said although the full design committee had not met since early November, design subcommittees had been working with Becker Morgan.

Design development is expected to be complete by the end of January and completion of the next phase, construction documents, is scheduled to begin by the end of June, Butera said.

The timetable calls for bid proposal requests to go out in July, and for construction to begin in early August.

The earliest the building might be ready for a grand opening is in Oct. 2015, but unforeseen delays could push completion into February 2016.

“A final project timeline will be developed when the fundraising committee reports to the board that it is confident enough money will be raised to complete the project,” Butera said.

Fundraising quietly begins

Library board treasurer and fundraising campaign leader Hugh Leahy told the design committee the quiet phase of fundraising is just beginning. “The key leadership team is being finalized and Horizon Philanthropic has been engaged as our campaign consultant,” Leahy said.

He said the group is developing a final fundraising plan, and a widespread campaign should begin by April. “A library by its nature will require broad community support, and we are hopeful that many will want to participate,” Leahy said.

Even after board approval, Butera said, the start date for construction would depend on when Becker-Morgan obtains required approvals and permits from various state, county and city agencies. Comments on the overall site plans from Delaware Department of Transportation site plan are expected soon, Hastings said.

During the design-development phase, Hastings said, no substantive changes would be made to the approved schematic design.

In the construction-development phase, the building’s design will undergo further refinement and various subcommittees will be consulted about specific design elements.