Library OKs Contracts to Study Consolidations

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County’s building and sites committee voted Friday to hire HBM Architects of Cleveland and BSHM Architects inc. of Youngstown to jointly perform a site evaluation and community engagement study for consolidation of the Brownlee Woods, Struthers and Campbell branches.

Committee members agreed to hire the firms following a review of responses to the library’s request for qualifications. A cost for the work will be determined when the extent of services is established, Janet Loew, communications/public relations director for the library, said.

Five proposals were submitted.

“Now we will start to work with BHM and HBSM to begin a timeline of getting this together,” said Heidi Daniel, the library’s executive director. The consultants will begin with gathering baseline data and information such as branch usage patterns and reviewing the results of community conversations.

The library and consultants also will meet with city and county officials and community stakeholders, and begin looking at sites. The objective is to have the study completed by December, Daniel said.

Following a presentation by Daniel, members of the committee also told the library’s executive director they wanted her to move forward with a feasibility study for renovations to Main Library. An upgrade to Main Library, last updated in 1994, has been in the past two strategic plans.

Daniel said she will begin requesting proposals for consultants from interested firms. She hopes to solicit proposals in August and ideally have a consultant on board by the end of the year for Main’s renovation. Some architectural studies already have been done on the building.

“We’re looking at the bigger picture of how Main Library fits into the community around us, and what changes we may want to make since the last feasibility study was done, what services we want to offer and how that would impact the renovation,” Daniel said.

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