Future East Branch Library building purchased
BY PRESS TIMES STAFF
GREEN BAY – The new East Branch Library project took a giant first step forward with the acquisition of a building.
The library purchased a nearby building that formerly housed Titletown Fitness, 2253 Main St. on Green Bay’s east side.
The new space is triple the size of the current facility.
“The library was looking to find a building that was a right fit. Our current space is just too small,” Sarah Sugden, Brown County Library’s executive director, said. “It’s exciting we found a new location that provides us with more space, the opportunity to increase our offerings, reimagine ourselves and continue to impact our community.”
Sugden said the new 16,300-square-foot library, which comes with additional green space, will be a community hub for literacy, learning, innovation and cultural and economic vitality.
She said the interior will feature a variety of spaces, including areas set aside for families and children.
“The East Branch has several popular programs that we moved to the Central Library, because it lacks the room,” Sugden said. “When the project is done, we’ll be able to hold those again in the East Branch, thanks to the additional space. We hope to offer even more programs and services.”
She said construction is expected to begin in September with completion one year later.
Sugden said the purchase of a new location for the East Branch is part of Brown County Library’s plans to enhance its facilities, technology, access and programs to help create a more vibrant community and extend its reach to further strengthen the community.
Funding comes from tax money allocated to the Brown County Library.
The library is looking to raise another $8 million through a naming rights campaign to fund upgrades in service, programs and technology at five of the library’s nine sites.
“The impact of the county’s important investment in the library will be experienced and enjoyed for generations to come,” Sugden said. “With this building purchase for the East Branch, we are moving forward and seeing some changes.”
A naming rights donor, she said, will allow the library to further advance its space and impact.
“We are looking for a partner who shares our vision for a truly special community space and will help us enhance the upgrades and create meaningful experiences that change lives,” Sugden said.
The Concord Group, a construction-consulting firm, will serve as project manager for the project.
In addition to the new East Branch, other Phase 1 initiatives include expanding and renovating the Pulaski Branch as a shared facility with Pulaski Area Community Education, and making initial updates at the Central Library.
Central Library renovations
The Brown County board recently earmarked $1.1 million of American Rescue Plan Act funds toward the renovation of the lower level of the Brown County Central Library.
The project includes the replacement of the facility’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning system and construction of a meeting space, which could potentially become the County Board chambers.
Now that ARPA funds are set aside for the project, the Library Board will move forward with consultation services for the project.
Chad Weininger, Brown County director of administration, said if the board approves of the final project plan, the money will then be given to Library Board to help fund the project.