Joplin selects SAPP for library project; Community Meetings Set - KOAM TV 7

Joplin selects SAPP for library project; Community Meetings Set for This Week

In addition to the community meetings discussed previously, SDA and Library staff will host the following meetings for the identified user groups In addition to the community meetings discussed previously, SDA and Library staff will host the following meetings for the identified user groups

Progress continues on the development of the new library to be located at the northeast corner of 20th and Connecticut Streets. The City of Joplin has selected SAPP Design Associates (SDA) of Springfield, Mo., for the architectural design and Tri-State Engineering of Joplin for site civil design services.

SDA has extensive library experience, and has worked on numerous projects in Joplin including the new Irving Elementary, Fire Station No. 4, as well as other projects in Neosho and in Carl Junction. SDA will include the firm of OPN Architects of Cedar Rapids, Iowa as part of its team. SDA officials noted OPN brings added depth to the planning process, as well as their special appreciation for a city in recovery, as OPN was selected for the planning and design of the new Cedar Rapids library after it was destroyed by devastating floods in 2008. SDA also brings with it the expertise of Godfrey's Associates, a library planning specialist from Dallas, Texas.

Tri-State Engineering is a 35-year Joplin firm that the City has worked with on numerous projects over the years, most recently new Fire Stations 2 and 4. They were also involved with the Bel-Aire Plaza among other projects.

“With this part of the process completed, the design firm can begin the conceptual planning of the library facility, as well as assist library leadership in mapping the programming needs. This has been a process two years in the making,” said Tony Robyn, a City of Joplin Planner.

SDA and its partners, in concert with the City and the Joplin Library, will immediately begin a series of workshops, focus groups, and community meetings to explore the needs and the opportunities presented by and for the Joplin Community. The first of these engagement sessions will be held Tuesday, February 3. The Town Hall Community Meeting will be held at 7:30 to 9 p.m. in the large meeting room at the Library, 300 Main Street.

“This is the first meeting to get input as part of the new library building, and begins the process in designing a new strategic plan that will help the library plan for the future,” said Jacque Gage, Director of the Joplin Public Library. “We will meet with specific groups throughout this next week, to learn of their needs that will be part of the discussions in the design work for our new facility.”

Another opportunity for the public to participate in this week's session will be on Wednesday afternoon. SDA and Library staff invites adult users and senior citizens to a session from12:30 to 2:30 p.m. to provide input on their uses and needs of a library.

Gage and city officials are looking forward to hearing from the public. “This new building will address many problems the library has at our current location: an overall lack of space and inability to expand either outward or upward; a lack of ADA accessibility and compliance; a lack of parking; a building not designed with the capacity for today's electrical or computing needs; and a host of other issues. As we begin to plan the new library, we want to make sure the new library building is built both for today's needs and tomorrow's dreams. We would like to plan with flexibility in order to meet future needs and opportunities that do not currently exist. However, we need and want the public's input.”

Gage noted that the Library invited members of the focus groups to participate in their designated time slot. She said the public would be welcome to attend, if space allowed. She encouraged citizens to call the Library for the meeting time they are planning to attend to learn of seat availability. The number to call is 417-623-7953, ext. 20.

(See photo to your left.)

“The initial meetings primarily concentrate on user groups,” said Gage, “and we will hold more public meetings in upcoming weeks and months if citizens cannot make these times.”

The Library project is a partnership with the Economic Development Administration, which awarded the City a $20 million grant to assist in the redevelopment of the 20th Street area following the 2011 disaster. The project will include site infrastructure repairs and improvements, as well as the new facility. It is a matching grant from EDA of 80% to 20% City resources, the City will fund $5 million of the project; approximately $4.5 million in TIF funding and $500,000 match in land value of property the City owns at 20th and Connecticut.

Construction is planned for fall 2015.

# # #

Services provided by the new Joplin library will be chosen by the public.

The Joplin City Council will tonight vote on approval of design and engineering contracts for the new library in the works at 20th Street and Connecticut Avenue.

Staff members at the Joplin Public Library say the number of visitors is on the rise, with an estimated 327,000 in the past year, or around 900 visits a day.

"In just the past three or four years, our gate count has increased over 15 percent," said Jacque Gage, director.

Gage says a new location will provide more room for growth, and the public has an opportunity to help decide in which direction that will be.

Many want the focus on the children.

"Maybe just larger meeting rooms," said Rachel Lynch, Joplin resident. "The kids do all kinds of lego clubs and it gets very crowded."

"I'd like to see maybe a bigger selection of books for the children," said Shaynona McGuire, Joplin resident.

Some avoid technology.

"I shun computers," said Herbert McDonald, Joplin resident.

Others would like to see more of an emphasis.

Library officials estimate there were about 41,000 computer uses in the past year, with an additional 17,000 Wi-Fi uses on personal devices.

Gage says some options to expand could include 3-D printing or other digital conversion services.

"A digital media lab," Gage said. "One thing it might do is give a way for people to convert old VHS tapes into a digital format."

Gage says self-publishing technologies are also an option.

"It's a machine where you can bring in a PDF file that's been formatted a certain way, print and bind a book within a few minutes," she said.

Which new services are chosen will largely depend on the public input given.

"Anything we could add to the existing services would be awesome," said Jason Colbert, Joplin resident.

"It's kind of exciting because there are so many options," Gage said. "We just don't know exactly what way Joplin will want us to go yet."

If all contracts are approved by the council tonight, library officials plan to host the first public input meeting at the current library location, tomorrow night at 7:30.
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