Ransom District Library’s previous facility, located at 180 S. Sherwood Street in Plainwell, Michigan, was approximately 50 years old and showing signs of structural distress. After conducting several discovery sessions with the project team, the client opted to construct a new 20,000-square-foot facility that not only provides a safer environment for the staff and community but would also double the size available for community meetings, materials for borrowing, parking, and more.
To fund the construction of a new library, demolition of the old facility, and other improvements to the site, Ransom District Library pursued a $6.2 million bond that was placed on the August 7, 2018 ballot. CSM Group assisted with creating project documents that effectively communicated the positive benefits the project would bring to the community.
With the project team’s assistance, Ransom District Library received the community’s support, and the bond was passed, allowing construction to begin in August of 2019.
There were many challenges that arose during construction that our project team handled gracefully with clear communication and expectations. The first challenge was that the existing facility needed to remain operational for as long as possible during construction to continue serving patrons.
It was also a very tight site, with M-89 to the north, the Kalamazoo River to the west, the existing library to the south, and the only site entrance to the east. It was challenging to schedule and coordinate deliveries, big equipment - such as cranes and earth-moving machines - and trade parking and logistics, but our on-site project managers successfully executed the work. CSM Group’s project team required off-site parking for trade contractors to keep the existing parking lot available for patrons, and increased the level of communication between key subcontractors, vendors, and suppliers as it related to deliveries, site equipment, laydown and storage areas, and site activities.
After 16 months of construction - which included a mandatory shutdown as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic - we turned the new facility over to the client in the fall of 2020.
The new building includes more meeting space, defined quiet spaces, more rooms for technology, and increased capacity for library materials for borrowing.
In addition, the new library - which is double the size of the previous facility - has a new parking lot with better circulation, a book drop connected directly to the building, one secure entry into the building, and outdoor spaces for the community to enjoy. It has also been designed to allow younger patrons to head outside for programs and not have to cross parking areas, keeping them out of harm’s way.