By Matt de Simone
A Botetourt County oversight team worked with county staff earlier this year on an assessment of the Buchanan Library for a proposed renovation. The library could potentially see $2.1 million in improvements.
The Botetourt County Board of Supervisors authorized a consideration for the document phase of a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the renovation of the Buchanan Library at the board’s monthly meeting last Tuesday afternoon at the county administration offices in Daleville.
“The Buchanan Library is a beautiful, historic building,” Botetourt County Library Director Julie Phillips said in a recent email. “We want to preserve the building’s historic integrity and showcase the amazing architecture, while adding a much-needed facelift and rearranging the interior to be more functional. Above all, we want the building to be uniquely ‘Buchanan,’ to reflect the rural, small town, historic feel while also bringing cutting-edge resources and services to the community.”
Deputy County Administrator David Moorman presented the report to the board. Moorman explained that the team concluded that the budget estimate for the renovation and expansion is expected to be approximately $2,110,000. The final cost may vary depending on the final design, level of finish and market conditions. Escalation in the amount of 5% per year, or the prevailing rate at that time, should be added to the estimate for each year after 2023.
Last November, the board awarded a contract for a professional assessment of the Buchanan Library building in preparation for its proposed renovation to finish the currently unfinished mezzanine and second floor levels of the building.
According to the information presented in the report, Enteros Design performed the work in consultation with library staff, maintenance, and building staff, and a study oversight team comprised of Phillips, Moorman, and Board of Supervisors Amy White and Steve Clinton. Enteros completed its assessment in March of this year.
“We worked with Enteros Design on a redesign that would create a better experience for everyone,” Phillips explained. “We have a high demand for quiet study spaces, so the design includes small closed-off rooms where people can focus or meet in small groups without disturbing others or being disturbed by the activity.
“Our children’s area is so small that it currently bleeds into the rest of the library, so the plan is to renovate the mezzanine to include a large children’s room, teen space, and family seating area. The general layout of the library would be more open and easier to navigate, with additional seating to accommodate the rising number of visitors. We’re also planning an event space on the second floor where we could have an easy-clean and well-equipped area for all types of programs, from children’s STEM labs to adult art classes.”
At the request of the oversight team, staff has prepared a Request for Proposals (RFP) for professional services for schematic design, construction design, and bidding and construction support. The RFP will be issued with proposals due no later than October 20. The estimated cost of the services is between $180,000 and $220,000. Funding in support of the library renovation was included in the current year budget in an amount sufficient to cover the cost.
The report gave an overview of the existing conditions, such as a review of the exterior and interior building’s needs, the architectural code, a structural report, and a list of the building’s current deficiencies. A Botetourt Library staff questionnaire is included within the report. Questions and answers are focused on the community and the library’s “revamped” public programming.
“The new design creates a more intuitive navigation and showcases our collection better so that people can find books, movies, and so on more easily than they can now. Since technology is key to learning and access, we’ll also add infrastructure to support people bringing their own devices or using our technology to learn or accomplish their tasks. For example, more outlets and hybrid meeting spaces for virtual and in-person meetings. Last but not least, we’re carving out more space for staff behind-the-scenes so they won’t have to work on their projects and meetings in public areas.”
The RFP and report presented at last Tuesday’s board meeting is available in the Agenda Center of the Botetourt County website at botetourtva.gov/AgendaCenter.