If a bid award takes place smoothly, renovation work at the Palatine Public Library — including a new “makerspace,” more study rooms and a teen space — is expected to start sometime in October and last 16 months.
“We know that the construction process itself will cause a little bit of dust and noise and inconvenience to patrons and staff,” Library Executive Director Jeannie Dilger said. “But we feel really confident that the final plan is something that is going to meet those needs that we heard from people.”
The library received 17 bids by closing Thursday for the renovation work, ranging from $2.9 million to $4.2 million plus a range of additional costs for technology, lobby finishes and more; five bids for the moving of collections; and seven bids for furniture, documents show. The library board is expected to discuss bid awards with a recommendation from the architects on Sept. 15, Dilger said.
The district budgeted about $6.8 million for the renovation work at its three locations, expecting that about $6 million would go to the main library, Dilger said.
The renovation project came out of the library’s 2018 strategic plan that took into account feedback from the community, Dilger said. Library district voters approved in April 2019 a property tax levy increase amounting to an estimated $1.8 million in additional yearly revenues.
The money will fund three areas of work, Dilger said: the renovation work, first at the main library and later at the two branches; $5.8 million in upgrades to HVAC and energy-efficient lighting, much of which will be incorporated in the renovation; and service improvements such as more community outreach.
Makerspaces are spaces dedicated to hands-on creativity and learning that many suburban libraries have been adding. The Palatine library makerspace will be 1,500 square feet and will include the technology of the current digital media center plus things like 3D printers, sewing machines and more, along with classroom space for classes and presentations, Dilger said.
The renovation also will feature 15 study rooms, up from the current eight, including one-person small rooms; a larger “quiet reading” room on the north side of the building overlooking a pond; a glass-enclosed teen space with video gaming, tables and booths; and a “learning and discovery” area for elementary age students. The cafe on the second floor will move to the first floor.
The district hopes to use some grant money for the renovation, including a yet-to-be-determined sum under the Public Library Construction Act and $100,000 designated by the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity for the makerspace, Dilger said.
The library branches are in rented spaces, one at Willow Recreation Center in Hoffman Estates, part of the Hoffman Estates Park District, and one at Partners for Our Communities community resource center in Palatine. The renovation at the branches will consist of furniture, carpeting, lighting and painting, Dilger said. The Hoffman Estates Park District has applied for a state grant for a building project that would give the library a larger space, she said.
The Palatine Public Library District serves about 90,000 residents in Palatine plus parts of Hoffman Estates, Schaumburg, Arlington Heights and Rolling Meadows.