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Geneva library submits plans for new building

Construction could begin next spring

GENEVA – Architects have submitted Geneva Public Library’s official building project application to the city of Geneva for review, moving another step closer to constructing a new facility at 210 S. Sixth St., officials announced in a news release.

Voters approved a $21.8 million bond issue to build a new library building in April.

City staff and Historic Preservation and Plan commissions will review the application, and each group will provide recommendations to the City Council, the release stated.

The council is expected to vote on the project application early next year, the release stated.

Dates for meetings and public hearings will be determined by the city’s established schedules, the release stated.

The goal is to start construction in spring 2018 and be ready to open by mid-year 2019, the release stated.

The 57,000-square-foot facility will offer community members a library with space for additional technology to learn new skills, expanded collections, more programs, on-site parking, and drive-up convenience, among other resources and services, the release stated.

“We are excited to make an investment in meeting the ongoing and future needs of library district residents,” Library Board President Bob Shiffler stated in the release. “Our goal is to provide a facility where the community can gather and that will support lifelong learning in an ever-changing environment.”

The building’s design unites many elements of the community, Patrick Callahan, senior principal at StudioGC Architects, stated in the release.

The colors and texture of the material choice reflects the Fox Valley limestone prevalent in the area; the curvilinear ribbon that flows along the second floor was inspired by the cottonwood tree on-site and treehouses seen in residential neighborhoods, Callahan stated in the release.

The old lumber mill and the Pope box company, which cladded many of the former industrial buildings along Seventh Street, were inspirations for the vertical expressions seen in the design, Callahan stated in the release.

The arch at the roof level, which echoes the hull of the Viking ship now resting in Good Templar Park, is meant to pay homage to the Swedish heritage of the area, Callahan stated in the release.

This is the latest phase in a process undertaken more than two years ago when the library board evaluated the condition and operating costs of the library building and determined how to best serve the library district in the future, the release stated.

The board met with the community and also conducted a needs assessment of the facility, concluding that it made the most fiscal sense to build a new library that offered the space and amenities the community needed, the release stated.

After the successful referendum, the library board held three community forums in the summer where the public could offer feedback on issues of site development, building structure, materials, contemporary library issues and aesthetics, the release stated.

“We greatly appreciate the members of our community who gave their time to be part of the planning process,” Shiffler stated in the release.

In addition to the bond issue, the library will use $300,000 from existing reserves to pay for the new building, the release stated.

The library board already issued a $10 million bond in June. Two more will be scheduled at a later date, the release stated.

The public can keep up with the progress on the building plans at, or contact the board via email at

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