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The Rundown – Architect presents concept design for new library

Post Date:05/27/2020 4:22 PM

The Rundown is prepared by the City of Newton Public Information Office to summarize the City Commission meeting and does not represent official Commission minutes.

7 p.m. May 26, 2020, Newton City Commission meeting

Library Concept Design - exterior

At a work session before Tuesday night’s meeting, the City Commission received the concept design for a proposed new library in Military Park. It features a one-story layout incorporating natural light, more flexible/efficient use of space, and drive-up services.

The site plan includes on-site parking and re-orienting the building to make better use of the green space in the park. The new library would be built just to the east and south of the existing building, which would allow for the library to remain in operation during construction. Estimated cost for the project is $8.5 million.

Peter Bolek of HBM Architects presented detailed information about the potential to renovate the existing building vs. building new. Renovation was not recommended because of significant structural deficits, major changes needed for ADA accessibility, and the inability to achieve needed technology, parking and drive-up services. The architect estimated the cost of total renovation at $9.4 million.

The new library will be paid for with a public-private partnership, with a community fundraising campaign tapped to raise up to $4 million. Fundraising consultant Swanson House is about to begin a community feasibility study that will provide more details about potential community giving.

The architect’s full presentation is available at

The design incorporates feedback from two community meetings in February about what community members would like to see in a new library. In December, the City Commission had selected Military Park as the site for the new library, based on feedback from the community about potential locations.

In other action, the City Commission:

  1. Authorized the sale of Taxable General Obligation Refunding and Improvement Bonds for the ABI building at Newton City/County Airport. It is estimated the refinancing will save the City around $1.5 million in interest.
  2. Approved a Request for Proposals for grant preparation and administration services for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG-CV) Economic Development funds for small businesses, and set a public hearing for June 9.
  3. Approved a community engagement and design process for a Newton city flag.
  4. Approved a contract to hire Kelly McElroy as city manager. McElroy has been Newton’s assistant city manager/development director since 2016 and has been serving as interim city manager since January.
  5. Approved an employment contract for City Attorney Chris Towle through 2021.
  6. Set a special public meeting for 7:30 a.m. Thursday, May 28 to discuss the acquisition of property from BNSF Railroad for a new water storage tank.
  7. Appointed Clint McBroom to the Newton Recreation Commission; Greg Hanson to the Historic Preservation Commission; and Larry Lee and Cathy Anderson to the Newton Public Library Board.
  8. Approved a Federal Grant Assistance Agreement for design of Taxiway E at Newton City/County Airport.
  9. Annexed 1.35 acres of City-owned land at Southeast 12th and Hillside.

For more information, please contact Director of Communications Erin McDaniel at 284-6055 or

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