New Library Designs Unveiled

By Beacon Staff

Click the image above or use the arrows to see three concept designs for the proposed new main library in Kalispell.

Concept designs for the new Main Library were unveiled last week, much to the delight of the Flathead County Library Board of Trustees.

Trustee Chair Jane Lopp said she was excited to see the designs bring the project to life after working on it for so long.

Three architectural companies were chosen to work with three potential sites designated by the library’s Citizens Advisory Committee. The sites were assigned at random.

Each firm was charged with creating a 52,000-square-foot, two-story building with at least 100 parking spots that should serve as the “living room of the community.”

Architects Northwest presented a building design complete with natural lighting, roof garden and underground parking garage. Set on 1.5 acres on the Flathead Industries site off Fifth Avenue West, the building’s entrance would be skewed with access from two directions. One of the highlights, the architects said, would be the sustainability of the building, with solar collectors on the roof, rainwater harvesting, sky-lights, bike racks and plug-ins for future electric cars.

The building spans 51,000 square-feet with a 34,500-square-foot parking garage. The total cost is projected to be nearly $12.2 million.

The second design presented by CTA Architects Engineers was drawn to fit with the downtown community and the neighboring residential lots, the architects said. The firm worked with just over 2 acres of property at Center and Third streets. The library would have community rooms, a coffee shop or some type of retail, garden space near the entrance and a children’s library.

The second floor would take advantage of the view, the architects said, with windows and possibly access to outside terraces. The building would also have sustainability features, including energy efficiency and ground source heating and cooling.

With an underground parking lot and a two-story building, the total costs are projected at $13 million to $16 million.

According to Lopp, NFA Fullerton Architects had the toughest assignment as they presented a plan to revamp the existing Main Library on First Avenue East. The plans show an addition added to the current building, with a landscape-lined corridor ending at the nearby Hockaday and Central School museums. This would create a connection between them, the concept reads, providing a “center for cultural and human interaction.”

The library would have two stories, with the possibility of a third floor and underground parking. A children’s room, community room and a café or bookstore would be included in the design.

The projected cost for the third design is $12.4 million.

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