Architect: FEH Design
Owner: City of Milton
Contractor: Gilbank Construction, Inc.
This public library project consisted of a new building entrance and completely renovating 16,000 square feet of space on the first and second floors of the Shaw Building, which was originally built as an academic library at Milton College in 1967.
It was imperative that the library remain open to the public during construction, so a detailed occupancy phasing plan was implemented. This plan allowed the construction team to remove full-height masonry non-load bearing walls from the second floor without heavy equipment, sequentially remove hazardous materials as demolition occurred, construct a new main entrance addition, and also minimized the shutdown of major building systems. Faced with restrictions on floor loading capacity of the 1967 vintage building, the team also developed a strategy to deal with book tacks and compact shelving.
Partnerships with local businesses, schools, and the agriculture community allowed for the implementation of advanced technology in a makerspace that inspires innovation, an interactive children’s area that promotes the use of imagination and teaches the importance of local businesses, and areas throughout the building that teach all users of the importance of the local agriculture economy to the community.
The design team developed an innovative floor plan and furniture layout that worked within the restrictions of the existing structure while still opening up interior sight lines and allowing the staff to monitor the usage of the space efficiently. Reinforcing part of the second-floor framing system meant concentrating the placement of the library stacks to one location. A new main entrance gave the building a street presence that complimented the existing façade while still presenting the new image of the library to the community to see activity inside as they drive past the building.
This project, through thoughtful and innovative design, turned an outdated, mid-century academic building, into a revitalized, family friendly public space that serves as a destination within the community, fosters community-wide literacy, and enhances the lives of all users.