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Home arrow News arrow Local News arrow 45 TURN OUT TO HELP 'DESIGN' NEW LIBRARY


By Ray Linker

Observer Staff Writer

"I want a cozy corner, with a comfortable chair, something to prop my feet up on and a place to put my Starbucks coffee while reading."

That was one woman's idea of what she was looking for in a new La Grande City Library.

About 45 residents met Wednesday evening to offer their input in what should be in the building that will be part of the complex planned for the west end of the downtown area.

The library will be in a one-story building facing Fourth Street, while ODS Health Plans, the Oregon Employment Department and retail or offices will occupy a similar building facing Adams Avenue, City Manager Wes Hare said.

Other ideas included:

• More space for books.

• More study carrels.

• Expanded facilities for use of electronics, such as computers.

• An area for a Starbucks coffee outlet.

• A design that would enable the building to be expanded upward in the future.

• An archive for historical materials.

• A room for audio-visual use.

• An outdoor area, but under cover, for reading.

• A sound-proof room for babies.

• Public art.

• An improved children's section.

• A small stage with arena seating in the children's section.

• Three or four oversized parking spaces for visiting RVs.

There will be adequate landscaping, but there is no plan to close off Fourth Street between Adams and Jefferson avenues, Hare said, although one resident suggested that.

"There are businesses that need Fourth Street," he said.

Architects hired by the city — Robertson/Sherwood Architects of Portland — will work in conjunction with the firm hired by ODS Health Plans — Otak Architects and Engineers of Lake Oswego — to design the building's exterior. The design will be compatible with the downtown area, Hare said.

Wednesday's meeting was the first by residents, who are expected to have a lot of input on the interior design of the building, Hare said.

The architects will work on the design between now and March, with construction beginning as soon as possible after that, depending on the weather, the city manager said.

The complex should be completed 10 months after that or about 18 months from now, Hare said.

"The next step for us now is to come back to citizens with a plan for further comment," he said.

The anticipated size is 20,000 square feet, and Hare said he felt the nearly $3 million the city has or can get should pay for that.

Architect Carl Sherwood said he didn't know now if $3 million would cover the cost of a building of the size discussed. Hare said libraries have been built for that amount or less. He said some of the space will be used for a community meeting room, but it will be up to the city council to decide on the final design for the building.

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