The Newton City Commission and the Newton Public Library Board held a joint meeting Tuesday evening to hear proposals for a new library facility.


The two boards received a presentation from HBM Architects and Interior Designs concerning either a new building or renovation of the current building. The site of a new building would remain at Military Park, which was the overwhelming consensus of two public meetings held Oct. 30, 2019, and Feb. 19 of this year.


The current building opened April 1, 1973, replacing the Carnegie Library building on North Main Street, which is now the city museum.


Other sites considered included the old South Dillons store (part of the site houses a Dollar General store), West First Street and Boyd, the old Alco site on Old US-81 highway and South Kansas and 36th Street.


According to figures released in the report, a new building on the current site would cost about $8.5 million, which includes $5 million in construction costs, $1.3 in interior costs (furniture, cabinetry, shelving and contingency), $2.2 million in other costs (demolition of current building, professional fees, a fundraising consultant, technology design and equipment survey, geotechnical reports, testing and special inspections, permits and plan review, utility tap-in fees, reimbursable expenses, signage and moving).


Renovating the current building would cost an estimated $9.4 million — $5.9 million in construction costs, $1.3 million in interior costs and $2.2 million in other costs.


A new building could be completed in September 2023, if fundraising is completed by August 2022 and construction begins in December 2021. A renovated building could be finished in March 2024.


"When we set out to create this concept, what we really tried to do is create a volume of space that was fairly simple," said Peter Bolek, of HBM Architects and Interior Designs. "This building is, in essence, a large, open rectangle with some really nice concepts that make it a quality space with structural components that make it really very straight forward."


According to the architect’s report, the current building has deteriorating windows and seals, is poorly insulated, has moisture permeating the double-width brick wall with open joints in pre-cast concrete and rusting lintels.


The stair risers and railing are not compliant to building code, the elevator is not ADA compliant, there is no area of rescue assistance on the lower level, restrooms are not ADA compliant and there are low ceilings.


Also according to the report, the heating and air conditioning system is at the "end of its useful life," and the electrical system lacks convenient outlets and is the original system. The lighting and plumbing systems are original. The fire alarm system "is obsolete" and the main level lacks sprinklers.


"When you look at renovation costs, you have a lot of the same components, but with renovation, there are number of things you have to consider," Bolek said. "The total costs to renovate are actually more, $9.4 million. Some of the reasons they are more, you’re dealing with an existing building with lots of unknowns, so you’re planning for more robust contingencies. There are also structural deficiencies that exist, where you can’t just move those columns and create a more open floor plan that is more impressive."


The entire presentation and meeting is available at the Newton, KS City Government Facebook page. The presentation document is available at https://tinyurl.com/ya8ct3bn/.