The Hudson Area Joint Library Board got a glimpse Monday night at what the new library will look like when it moves to 700 First St. this spring.

Drawings of the floor plan of both levels in the new facility were presented by architect Cindy McCleary of BKV Group Architects and Engineers of Minneapolis. BKV was the original designer of the building when it was constructed by Erickson Diversified. They were also the firm that was consulted by the Hudson Library Foundation in 2008 when they were looking into the purchase of the building and the cost to renovate it. In addition to her firm's familiarity with the building and its new use, McCleary herself has significant experience in designing and planning libraries throughout the region.

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According to board president Jim O'Connor, the renovations to the 20,000 square foot space are expected to cost $500,000. The money will come from several sources including from impact fees collected by the City of Hudson and the Village of North Hudson over the past 10 years, a federal grant of $147,000 that has been requested, and donations that have been made and saved for the purpose of a new library of around $150,000.

O'Connor said the plan is to purchase the building from the city within the next five years. Fundraising for that purchase will likely begin after the move. The library's lease of the space is for five years at a cost of $120,000 per year. The purchase price of the building is $2.5 million plus an additional $125,000 per year until the purchase is complete. But for now, the focus is on moving into a new, much improved space.

The library will share the building with the Hudson Police Department which will occupy the lower level and northwest section of the first floor. The HPD public entrance will be located off the Vine Street parking area adjacent to the building. The library will have the front entrance on Vine Street. The parking lot on Vine Street will be for library staff and patrons. The police will use the underground parking area.

O'Connor and the board approved a bid for a commercial grade elevator for the new library at a cost of approximately $47,000. The new elevator has a load capacity of 3,500 pounds which will accommodate the weight of loaded book carts and other equipment as well as a full-size gurney in case of an emergency. The existing elevator already is in the part of the building that will be occupied by the Hudson Police Department and will not be accessible to library employees or patrons.

Other work will include the removal and installation of walls as needed to accommodate the second floor adult collection, the children's area, periodicals, quiet study areas, a teen reading room and the staff break room and kitchen. The children's area will include a story room and activity area and room for computers.

The history room will also be located on the second floor with a commanding view of the St. Croix River which has figured so prominently in Hudson's history. There will also be an area for the Friends of the Library book sale and other activities which generate an average of $15,000 a year to support the library. The second floor board room will not only serve the library board but will be available for smaller public meetings.

On the first floor along with a large, open atrium, there will be an information desk, checkout area, a computer bank and an expanded staff work area. O'Connor said the library staff currently handles on average 1,100 books a day in extremely tight quarters. In the new library that space will more than double. O'Connor said the increased work space is critical to a more efficient operation.

The plans call for reusing the existing shelving along with 300 wood shelves and 65 metal shelves donated to Hudson by the Eau Claire Public Library following a renovation there. Other furnishings will be moved from the old library into the new space.

O'Connor said that he expects that there will be opportunities for the community to contribute or donate furnishings for the new space in the months to come.

No firm date has been set for the actual move and the library could shut down for as much as a month to accomplish the relocation. McCleary said in her experience that is the best and most efficient way to do it. The board discussed but did not settle on May with a plan to reopen by the beginning of summer.

Up next will be finalizing the floor plan and construction needed and securing bids for the work.

Said O'Connor, "We're very pleased to move into this building. It makes sense economically and is a very constructive compromise. This will be a vastly improved facility that will be very pleasant for the public to use. And we look forward to working with the city and sharing the building with the police department."

For more information about Hudson Area Joint Library call (715) 386-3101.