Prairie du Chien's public library needed more room. At only 5,600 SF, it was about half the size as is typical for a community of similar size. Additional space was desperately needed for most library services and materials, such as book stacks, technology-based resources, meeting and study rooms, dedicated areas for differing age groups, gallery for art and cultural displays and storage.
While residents supported a larger facility, they did not wish to relocate the library as its central location was highly valued. Creating an expanded building that provided most of what stakeholders desired within the tight city parcel required a creative building footprint and use of space.
The library also includes a FEMA-approved community safe room for emergency use by the public. Safe rooms are specifically designed and constructed to resist wind pressures and wind-borne debris impacts during an event such as a tornado. The safe room, located in the lower level of the library, doubles as program space and a community meeting room and is fully accessible.
Working closely with library staff, city officials and the community resulted in a shared vision for what their library could become. Prairie du Chien's expanded and renovated library will serve area residents well into the future and continue to be a cherished community asset for generations to come.