Library board awards contract for building improvements

By: Maria Allard | Grosse Pointe Times | Published October 1, 2019


GROSSE POINTE WOODS/PARK/FARMS — The Grosse Pointe Public Library staff has plans to break ground on several building renovations this spring.

At the Sept. 26 GPPL Board of Trustees meeting, the library board voted 7-0 to award a $123,000 contract for building improvements at all three branches to architectural firm Quinn Evans.

“Quinn Evans is excited to bring our leadership in library design and historic projects to GPPL,” Ann Dilcher, principal of Quinn Evans, said in a prepared statement. “We look forward to collaborating with the library to reimagine and renew the indoor and outdoor spaces at all the locations so they better support the community and the library’s commitment to fostering learning, creativity and community connections.”

According to Grosse Pointe Public Library Director Jessica Keyser, the library received “excellent proposals from five firms.” Quinn Evans stood out because of “its strong library experience and focus on collaboration and innovation.”

All three branches are undergoing renovations based on a Space Needs & Capital Assessment study that library officials conducted over several months with krM Architecture, Plante Moran Cresa, and livingLab Landscape Architecture.

The decision for the upgrades was made after a yearlong critical needs assessment was conducted with four community engagement sessions as well as input from staff at all three branches.

According to the Space Needs & Capital Assessment, the goals of the GPPL are to expand learning, inspire creativity and increase use of the library. The study was designed to include solutions that provide flexibility to allow the library branches to meet community needs 15-20 years in the future. Library staff also want to preserve the historical value of the Central Branch while continuing to reimagine the space in all three branches to best meet the community’s needs.

The $123,000 contract awarded Sept. 26 will fund Phase 1 of the projects. The Phase 1 improvements planned for the Central Branch include the renovation of the front porch and outdoor space.

New carpeting and painting will be done at the Ewald Branch, along with the remodeling of the circulation and reference desks near the front entrance. The plan is to remove an interior wall to bring the two service desks closer together so staff can work more efficiently side by side. There also are plans to improve the acoustics throughout the building at the Ewald Branch.

Projects at the Woods Branch include improving the entrance lighting inside the library and updated stairwell safety. Additional space will be added for the adult collection and first-floor seating.

It is unclear at this time if the projects at all three branches will be done at the same time or staggered. A completion date has not yet been determined for the projects.

The total budget for the Phase 1 improvements is $1.5 million; therefore, more projects will be scheduled at a later date. The improvements will be funded with capital reserves and donations.

“We’re really excited to move forward with the plan and work with Quinn Evans. We got a ton of feedback from the community, our staff and our own board,” Keyser said. “We’re really excited to do this for the community.”

The Space Needs & Capital Assessment is a 10-year project that includes a critical needs list for the first three years, a deferrable maintenance or property enhancement during years four through six, and long-range property enhancement for the last seven to 10 years. The proposed improvements would cost a little over $1 million a year over the 10 years.

If you don’t have plans this Saturday, the Friends and Foundation of the Grosse Pointe Public Library will host a “Masquerade for the Stacks” fundraiser from 7 to 11 p.m. Oct. 5 at the Country Club of Detroit, 220 Country Club Drive.

“Masquerade for the Stacks” will include cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, dinner, dancing, a silent auction and more. Proceeds will support the construction of a new accessible ramp at the Kercheval entrance to the Central Branch. For ticket information, visit

The Central Branch is located at 10 Kercheval Ave. in Grosse Pointe Farms. The Ewald Branch is located at 15175 E. Jefferson Ave. in Grosse Pointe Park. The Woods Branch is located at 20680 Mack Ave. in Grosse Pointe Woods.