The use of the “million-dollar gift” of the Commercial Savings Bank in a city library expansion will be central in discussions at City Council Monday evening, when Des Moines-based OPN Architects presents several proposals for utilizing the bank building to house either an expanded library or the city offices.
The use of the “million-dollar gift” of the Commercial Savings Bank in a city library expansion will be central in discussions at City Council Monday evening, when Des Moines-based OPN Architects presents several proposals for utilizing the bank building to house either an expanded library or the city offices.

December 9, 2016

Years of unanswered questions, unfinished proposals and a lack of agreement. A million-dollar offer of a building. And now, six months of design research.

They’re all coming down to the next step in the long-standing question of what to do, if anything, with the library that some are saying hasn’t been large enough to meet Carroll’s needs for years.

During the Carroll City Council’s upcoming meeting at 5:15 p.m. Monday, Des Moines-based OPN Architects will present two options — and four floor plans — to council.

The first option involves keeping the library where it is and expanding it within the Farner Government Building while renovating the Commercial Savings Bank building that has been donated to the city and moving the city offices there.

The second option involves moving the library to the bank building and expanding it there, while keeping and expanding the city offices within the Farner Government Building.

After months of discussing, whittling and fine-tuning the two options with many people in Carroll, the costs for the two options aren’t very different, said Joe Feldmann, a project architect with OPN, who will present the detailed plans and costs to council Monday evening.

OPN has been involved in developing new libraries in Cedar Rapids, following a catastrophic flood, and Joplin, Missouri, in the wake of a tornado. The firm also has been involved in designing a new library and city hall for Ankeny.

Since June, Feldmann and others have worked with Carroll library representatives, city officials and residents, as well as mechanical, electrical, plumbing and structural consultants, on a quest to lay out possibilities for incorporating the bank building into library expansion plans. Monday’s presentation will be the firm’s last to the city under its current $28,770 contract.

“We’re pretty excited about the work, and the meetings we’ve had have been really, really productive,” Feldmann said Friday morning. “We feel that both options, both concepts — whether the library moves or the library stays, whether City Hall moves or City Hall stays — both are pretty close (pricewise), and both are very viable solutions.”