Library Says Cost Comparisons for Expansion, Village Hall Skewed

Article excerpt

Byline: Matt Arado Daily Herald Staff Writer

When it comes to construction costs, all buildings are not created equal.

Mount Prospect Public Library officials are considering a plan to add a second floor and a partial third level to the existing library building at 10 S. Emerson St. Though the exact scope and cost of the plan is still being finalized, officials estimate it would cost about $20 million, with roughly $13 million of that going to construction.

While the library fine-tunes its expansion plan, the village is actively moving forward with a project of its own. A new village hall and a multilevel parking deck will be built next door to the library. That project will cost an estimated $13.5 million, with roughly $12 million going to construction of both structures. Construction of the village hall alone will cost about $6.6 million.

On paper, the library's plan is clearly more expensive than the village's. But library officials, who plan to take their proposal to the voters next year in an advisory referendum, say the comparison isn't appropriate because:

- The library is faced with a number of unique costs, including the need to uproot all operations and move into a temporary building while the second floor is built;

- Construction standards for libraries are much different than those for other structures.

"People might notice the difference and assume our plan is extravagant," library Executive Director Marilyn Genther said. "But this is not going to be a Taj Mahal, as the expression goes. Library additions generally cost more."

Jack Poling, an associate principal in the Minneapolis-based architecture firm of Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle Ltd., said construction costs per square foot for libraries can sometimes be twice as high as the same costs for schools or office buildings.

Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle is the firm the Mount Prospect Public Library hired to design its proposed expansion. …