Library Building Project Update: February 2021

The City of Appleton Common Council approved the 2021 Executive Budget and Service Plan at their November 11, 2020 meeting. The 2021 budget includes $2.4 million for architectural design work toward a renovated or reconstructed library facility on the current site (see page 630). The budget also identifies $12 million each in 2022 and 2023 for the construction of the facility.

A draft Request for Proposals (RFP) was presented to the Library Board of Trustees and City Council in December. The input we received from those meetings, as well as from the public listening session, was incorporated into the document and the RFP was released Thursday, December 17. The deadline for submissions to the City of Appleton’s RFP was Thursday, February 4.

Eleven proposals were received and distributed to the review committee. This committee is composed of City of Appleton staff, as well as representatives of the Appleton Public Library Board of Trustees, Friends of Appleton Public Library, and City of Appleton Common Council. Proposals are currently being evaluated according to the terms in the RFP that was released in December. Firms with the top proposals will be interviewed and the finalist will be presented for approval to the library board and common council in March. Dates for these meetings are as follows:

• Finance Committee Approval – Monday, March 8 
• Library Board and City Council Approval – Tuesday, March 16 & Wednesday, March 17

The architect will work with a project team, which will consist of members of the Appleton Public Library, Mayor Woodford, and the Director of Parks, Recreation and Facilities Management. In addition, a to-be-formed advisory committee composed of members of the public and select community organizations will be established to provide additional input during design. The architect will also be expected to work in conjunction with a simultaneous neighborhood-level planning process. This project will have a separate Request for Proposals process in the near future to ensure that the library fits within the neighborhood and serves as an anchor for a comprehensive neighborhood redevelopment process.

The redesigned library is intended to reflect the priorities of a participatory 21st Century library. The goal of this project is to create an inspiring and flexible space that will satisfy the community’s needs for generations to come. The city continues to prioritize public input in this process and invites the community to continue to provide feedback as we move forward with the design process pending library board and common council approval.