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Library Building Project Update – April 2023

Appleton Public Library Building Project Update

Last fall, the bid opening for the construction of a redesigned library revealed costs escalated beyond the project team’s most conservative estimations. The project team recommended the City of Appleton Common Council reject all bids, allowing the team to rework the design and scope and re-bid. City staff continue to work with architects Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) on the library building project.   

Project Progress
City staff, The Boldt Company and SOM have modified the design to reduce the scope of the project. They presented their updates to the City of Appleton Common Council at the council’s January 18 meeting. A PDF of SOM’s presentation is also available for viewing.

Major changes include reducing excavation, combining meeting spaces to serve a dual purpose, and shifting the location of meeting spaces. The new design still meets project objectives for accessibility, safety, sustainability, flexibility and connectivity, including:

• Increase in space for service to children and teens
• Additional spaces for collaboration and creation
• Increase in number of study and meetings rooms, with varying sizes and accommodations
• Lower shelving, two public elevators, and easier to navigate restrooms
• Improved sight lines for safety and a better browsing experience
• Geothermal system for heating and cooling, along with rooftop solar panels
• More natural light and overall improved lighting
• A more flexible floor plan allowing for the building to change with community needs
• Improved efficiency in staff spaces and layout

The revised design provides the library with the space to support current and future needs and is responsive to the feedback we heard from the community. In addition, it provides the flexibility to adapt to new and emerging needs for the future with a design that will serve our community for generations to come.

SOM will be providing us with updated images in the coming weeks. We will share them with the common council, library board, and the community in another update.

The current timeline is below. Please remember the schedule may be impacted by many factors including lead time for products, supply chain, weather, etc.

Bidding Begins – Early May
Bid Opening – Early June
Council Approval – June – July in consultation with Council leadership
Construction Start – Mid-July

We continue to promote our building project webpage – – as a place for community members to find information related to the project. The webpage includes monthly updates, project FAQs, project spotlights (such as plans and permits, capital campaign etc.), and an area to provide feedback/questions.

Capital Campaign
Friends of Appleton Public Library continue to work with the Capital Campaign Committee to cultivate private philanthropic support for the library building project and keep potential donors informed of the city’s approach to deliver a cost-effective plan. Plans for the public phase of the campaign will shift to align with the city’s updated timeline, bid process and groundbreaking.

Stay up to date on the library building project or sign up for email updates by visiting our building project webpage.