Inspire: New Options—Costs and Benefits

After a review by participants, trustees, and stakeholders, the Cost Benefit Site Analysis for the library building project is now ready and is posted on the library website this week. The report includes an examination of how the site analysis fits into a broader service plan; an explanation of the site comparison system; a discussion of funding strategies; and a detailed analysis and value comparison of the site options the study team was asked to evaluate. An appendix offers a detailed presentation of the site evaluation criteria, their importance rank, and the reason for their ranking. The executive summary includes site option cost models and performance evaluation and comparison scores.

The report offers conclusions, recommendations, and next steps. The study team determined that Marion needs an adaptable library designed for 21st century library services and uses that can efficiently respond to changing technologies and user needs over the next twenty years. Given that all of the options studied have approximately the same cost, one emerged as a clear leader in terms of the benefit provided for the cost. The study team concluded, however, that recommending a specific option was not called for at this time.

Because of its potential to provide Marion with the library it needs as well as achieve economic development goals, a mixed-use facility is an option worth exploring. The study team recognized that moving forward with a mixed-use option depends on developer commitment, and that developers might bring ideas to the table worth considering. As a result, the team recommended the preparation and issuance of a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to determine developer interest and solicit preliminary plans.

An RFQ is in preparation for consideration by the Board of Trustees at its next regular meeting on August 11th. When that document is approved by the Board it will also be posted here. Review and approval of the RFQ by the City Council will be the next step. As of now we anticipate a four to six week deadline for submission of responses to the RFQ. In the meantime, we will begin to assemble a group that will be charged with evaluating the responses and making a selection recommendation to the Library Board of Trustees and the City Council.