Projected Referendum Date: March 3, 2025
Expected Project Start: Spring 2026
Estimated Cost: ≈ $4,445,000
Carlisle city officials worked with Ethos Design Group in 2019 to develop a Facilities Master Plan covering potential renovations for City Hall, the Police Department, and the Library. This was in response to long-standing discussions between city council and city staff regarding the need to expand several cramped facilities and prepare the departments for future growth.
This portion of the plan would renovate the former Recreation Center at 1220 S. 5th Street into the Library and includes the addition of a community programming room, relocation of restroom facilities, creation of a distinct young adult section, addition of two private study rooms, significant addition to the paved parking lot, and complete replacement of the mechanical systems, amongst many other improvements.
Frequently Asked Questions About the City Hall Renovation Project
Facilities Master Plan? What is that and why would we need one?
Carlisle’s elected officials noted in the budget discussions in January of 2018 that there were several buildings that were being currently underutilized or would be underutilized in the near future. The most prominent of those was the vacant bank building downtown. The city had recently finalized purchase of that building and a finalized plan for use of the building was yet to be presented. Elected officials and staff brainstormed ways to best utilize it and other city-owned facilities that would address ongoing needs and growth in several departments.
During that discussion, staff visited other communities to gain insight into things that work well and do not work well in their buildings. These visits led to the idea of creating a facilities master plan that would address expansion for City Hall, Police Department, and the Library. The growth of these departments is something city officials have been discussing in one form or another for at least a decade.
The facilities master plan utilized a professional firm to come in and conduct a space needs analysis of the three departments. The results of that analysis was then used to answer a few questions:
What were the results of the space needs analysis for the Library?
The library had several areas noted for areas of growth:
- Better functioning customer service counter/lobby
- Addition of usable programming room that will be available to public outside of library hours
- Designated areas for different functions; adults, teens, children, computers, etc.
- Addition of study rooms
After conducting the space needs analysis, Ethos concluded that a total area of 9,425 square feet was needed to address the growth. The current recreation center by the aquatic center covers 4,224 square feet. This means the GWB bank building is 5,201 sq. ft. short for the growth needs. This does not factor in an additional 1,200 square feet upstairs. This brings the difference to 4,000 square feet. The upstairs portion was targeted for use for mechanical systems and storage.
Has the current building been renovated before?
The current library was built in the early 1980s and dedicated in about 1981. There have been no renovations to that facility since its completion in 1981.
The Rec Center building has two floors. Are we using both floors for the new library?
To avoid installation of an elevator in the project, utilization of the upper floor is being limited to the building’s mechanical systems and limited storage. This is being done to avoid both the square footage lost and overall cost of putting in an elevator. Elevators also have ongoing inspections and maintenance that will be avoided.
Does the library need 9,425 square feet to house books?
The simple answer is no. Housing a collection of media materials is only one function of a library. Libraries have changed a lot in the past 10 years, let alone the last 38 years since ours was built! They are no longer simply a place to house books and go visit when you want to do research. Libraries of today are very active centers of the community that serve a broad base of the community. The Carlisle Public Library offers computer services, children’s story time, adulting programs like formal presentations and crafts, hosts weekly cribbage games, and offers a safe and supervised hangout place for middle schoolers, amongst many other opportunities and activities. All of these have been developed based on feedback from the community on what they would like to see available. They do that all on top of housing our community’s collection of media materials which is still an essential function of a library. That function will not take up the entire square footage of the new library though.
With these changes, will there be a space available for the community to use for private parties like graduations?
The largest potential for growth in the library is in programming. City officials have noted this and prioritized quality programming space in the library facility. The plan brought forth would create a large programming room at the front of the new library that would be able to be opened up, along with restroom facilities, for use for the public outside of library hours. Preference in usage would go to library and other city-sanctioned events prior to use for private activities. Fees and rules of use will be developed by the Library Board. The city is also exploring other avenues to offer this type of facility.
What are we going to do about parking?
Given the new library’s proximity to the aquatic center and the parking situation there, the plan includes additional parking that will work with the current lot. Additionally, an additional access will be for the library to allow for better flow of traffic in and out of the lot. By expanding and combining the lot, the entire lot can be utilized by both facilities during peak hours of usage.
With the library moving across town, how is the city planning on addressing serving the school kids?
Prior to moving forward with the plan, city staff consulted the school district to gather information on where our student population lives. We appreciate the support the school provided in getting us this demographic information. It was found that as of February 2019, the demographics for the student population was:
|North of HWY 5||216||93||126||435||30.5%|
|South of HWY 5/Danamere Farms||308||144||164||616||43.2%|
|Rural / Avon Lake||180||85||111||376||26.3%|
We can see that 181 more kids live south of Highway 5 than north of Highway 5. There is currently a bus stop near the location of the new library. This is something city staff has noted and intends to work with the school district on regarding ensuring kids north of Highway 5 can have access to when the move happens.
What are the estimated costs for the library?
Estimated construction costs include complete renovation of the building including the addition of a community programming room, relocation of restroom facilities, creation of a distinct young adult section, addition of two private study rooms, significant addition to the paved parking lot, and complete replacement of the mechanical systems, amongst other items.
The construction costs for this come to $2,463,165. In all construction projects, either commercial or residential, it is wise to build in contingencies. Contingencies for design, construction, and general fees comes to an additional $811,534. Additionally, around $1,095,465 in inflation over 7 years is being accounted for bringing the total cost of construction to around $4,225,367. It is important to remember that this includes a large expansion to the front of the building as well as renovating the current building. This does not factor in soft costs. These include items required for construction like site surveys, soil borings, inspections, architectural design fees, signage, audio visual equipment, and furniture, to name a few. It also includes the cost to issue bond notes. The addition of all of these soft costs which would give us a fully furnished turn-key building. With this project slated for several years down the road, re-estimating in the future.
What is the price per square foot for the construction?
If we take the costs of the buildings and divide it out over the square feet of the building, we get the cost per square foot. Those breakdowns can be seen below along with some comparisons with other current new construction public building projects going on in the Metro.
|Project||Est. Cost||Square Feet||Cost/Sq. Ft.|
|Carlisle Public Library (4 yr inflation)||$3,805,000||10,624||$358|
|Altoona Joint City Hall and Police Dept.||$35,000,000||87,700||$399|
|Clive Joint Police and Fire Station||$15,200,000||40,000||$380|
|Pleasant Hill Police Station||$12,000,000||28,000||$429|
|Warren County Justice Center (bids)||$36,900,000||73,000||$505|
A few things to factor in include that each of the building numbers include construction contingencies as well as a number of years of inflation built in. This was done to provide a better estimate of the true costs of the project.
Will the construction of these renovations raise my taxes?
No. As noted in our previous articles, the construction of the facilities will not raise taxes. Carlisle city officials have done a good job of leveraging our debt service levy through bonding and cash management to keep the debt service levy stable at $4.50/$1,000 in valuation.
What is the proposed timeline for the City Hall portion of the project?
To help save some costs, some of the design and development of the City Hall and Police Department potions of the plan will be done in conjunction with one another.
|Approve Design Contract for Library||March||2025|
|Design Development||April – July||2025|
|City Attorney Contract Review||July – September||2025|
|Construction Documents||August – December||2025|
|Bidding Library||January – February||2026|
|Library Construction Start||March||2026|
|Move Into Library||May||2027|
Why doesn’t the city buy the old clinic and connect it with the current library?
There are several challenges with this scenario.
- Requires significant renovation costs plus the cost of purchasing the building; purchase of the building is something we are currently unsure is possible at an affordable price
- Removes a potential location near the downtown business district for a new business to locate
- Removes the building at 125 School Street from the tax rolls – an estimated loss in of gross taxable value of $259,830
- Cost to address structural and code compliance issues caused significant elevation change between the ground floor of the two buildings would be high
- Does not address city’s goal of optimizing usage of city facilities
- Only room for long-term expansion with the old clinic would be to the back of the buildings into the parking lots; potentially creating new parking issues downtown
What will the city do with the old library building?
At this time, no decision has been made on the building’s use. City officials have discussed several options for the old library building. With the proposed timeline, city officials would have plenty of time to weigh the pros and cons of any options prior to the move. Some of the proposed uses include renovation for use by other departments or selling it for use as a business. City officials have been made aware of several parties interested in purchasing the building.