Groundbreaking for new facility expected in 2021
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A conceptual design shown here has been developed for a new library on the Van Tuyl property in northwest Gunnison.
A conceptual design shown here has been developed for a new library on the Van Tuyl property in northwest Gunnison.

Walking paths, access to trails, featured vistas and expanded spaces are among the highlights of conceptual plans for a new library in northwest Gunnison.

Gunnison County Library District leaders are wasting no time planning a new facility, which is tied to a ballot initiative passed in last week’s election. A preferred conceptual design has been developed for the library based on community input collected over the last year.

Simultaneously, the district has been formulating a coordinated process between design and construction which will mirror one utilized by Gunnison County for such projects as the County Courthouse, detention center and the Public Works building. By doing so, the district believes it can produce the best possible facility while remaining under budget.

Voters gave the green light to the library’s construction with the passage of ballot issue 6A — a 1.9 mill levy which will result in a dedicated revenue stream for library district operations. With its passage, county leaders have agreed to redirect property tax funding that previously went to the district to build the new facility.

The building — which will be built on a parcel donated by late Gunnison rancher Ray Van Tuyl north of Gunnison Community School — will be given to the district when the debt is paid off.

The project’s conceptual design — developed by Anderson Hallas Architects of Golden — incorporates aspects of the parcel on which it will be built. For example, the building will be tucked up against existing cottonwood trees along the western property line, with large glass facades.

Architect Wells Squier said driving factors for the building and roof design are snow management and bringing light to interior spaces. The two building sections will have shed roofs with low slopes that are able to hold snow, then direct it through valleys to the outside eastern and western edges of the structure.

The adult and children areas will feature ramps or steps to a raised floor, with large windows on two sides of these rooms, creating the feeling of a treehouse.

The main entrance to the building will separate parking lots so there is no “asphalt jungle,” Squier said. It is tied to the intersection of North 11th Street and Spencer Avenue, which he said will allow for a strong connection to downtown Gunnison.

“There’s strength of that corner related to the urban plan,” Squier said. “We’re bringing the corner into the library (design).”

Overall, Squier said, the library building itself will provide a transition from an urban area on the east side to a natural environment to the west.

The exterior materials are planned to include boardformed concrete comprising the east elevations of both building forms, and metal “wood” slats in two tones.

As district leaders prepared for last week’s election, another process was underway.

Executive Director Drew Brookhart told County Commissioners Tuesday that the district has partnered with Project Director Mike Mismash who assisted in the planning and construction of the county detention center and Public Works building.

“What I’ve been doing for the last eight months is adapting that delivery process for the architect and the construction manager and general contractor (CMGC),” said Mismash.

Mismash explained a “request for qualifications” process currently is underway, seeking CMGCs to submit applications. A short list will be developed of qualified contractors for the “request for proposal” stage, which will include cost estimates for preconstruction services and the building.

The top-ranked CMGC with a competitive price will be selected. However, Anderson Halles will still be contracted to collaborate with the contractor, making adjustments to the design if needed to bring costs inline.

A maximum guaranteed price will be developed before a contract is signed with the CMGC. Cost will be monitored throughout the construction.

Brookhart said groundbreaking is expected in spring of 2021. Construction is expected to last a year.


(Chris Rourke can be contacted at 970.641.1414 or at .)