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Boise Library Trustees About to Open Book On 'Vision Project'

"Our library, as anybody who has been here knows, the main library is quite cramped. We need to do some things to update this facility for the 21st century."

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When the Boise Public Library Trustees meet this oming Wednesday, April 3, they'll be briefed on something called the "Main Library Vision Project," which resurrects the the formal conversation about what to do about the city's main branch: either undergo a major renovation or build a new branch, which could become one of the largest and most expensive public construction projects in Idaho history.

The building's orginal design targeted ,a Boise population of 75,000. But Boise's population has ballooned to over 200,000.

In 2000, a consultant estimated that it would cost $40 million to build a new 185,000-square-foot facility. In 2010, the idea for a new main library resurfaced, but by then, the projected construction cost had balooned to $118 million.

"We're in the dreaming stage right now," Boise Public Library Director Kevin Booe told Boise Weekly in December 2012. "Our library, as anybody who has been here knows, the main library is quite cramped. We need to do some things to update this facility for the 21st century."

This Wednesday, trustees will be told that work on crafting Main Library design options will commencce in April, beginning with data collection.

"The consulting team will be collecting usage statistics, building condition reports, the prevous Main Library building program statement, and staff feeback," according to a new report from Booe.

Phase one of the vision project is scheduled to be completed in the next 60 days.

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