Thursday, March 25, 2010

I've always loved this place and am glad it's going to be renovated and expanded, not torn down

I've Always Loved This Place: So Glad It's Not Going to Be Torn Down
I've always loved this place. (I like the sculpture too.) It's a a bookish oasis where you can spend hours without spending dollars, where there’s no admission charge, where books are free for the borrowing and you can roam as far as your dreams will take you without ever leaving your seat. It’s the Bernard Schwab Building, the central branch of the Madison Public Library.

The plans to build a new downtown library as part of a larger commercial development fell through, and Mayor Dave is now backing renovating and expanding the old central library. It's a solid structure that was designed for upward expansion when it opened in the mid-Sixties, and I always thought that was the best option. From the Mayor's announcement:
So, while I'm disappointed, I'm also excited about the prospect for a great library on the current site. We believe we can do it at a lower cost and roughly on the same timeline. We will need to count on less private fundraising in a tight environment for philanthropy. And because we'll use the existing superstructure of the building, we are essentially recycling it. The greenest building is the one you rebuild.

What we should not do is go back to square one. Looking for other sites would be way too time consuming, difficult and costly. I don't think that will be necessary because my initial discussions with alders have been very positive on the reconstruction. That's not surprising. After all, it was really the council that asked us to look at the reconstruction as a baseline to measure the other proposals against, and I know that many alders will be more comfortable with the lower costs.
Yes. Glad he came around.

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