Building Renovations

January 2020 Update

When the library reopens to walk-in traffic on Monday, January 11th, the library will be in its fourth, final and most disruptive phase of renovation.

Almost the entire first floor is walled off as a construction zone and as a result of the reduced space, the number of people allowed in will be limited to 50 at a time. Those coming in will also be asked to use the library as quickly and efficiently as they can so that as many people as possible can use the library’s services.

During this latest phase of renovation work, the children’s area will be temporarily housed on the second floor.

More information is available on our Covid-19 and Reopening page.  

Older Updates:

From October 27, 2020:

In order to begin Phase 4 of our ongoing renovations, the West Des Moines Public Library will be closed from Tuesday, October 27 through Wednesday, November 11.

During the closure, library staff and contractors will:

  • Move the children’s collection and other library materials currently housed on the first floor to temporary shelving on the second floor
  • Lay new carpet on the first floor
  • Erect temporary walls to contain dust and noise on the first floor
  • Re-carpet public elevator
  • Move some library furniture out of the building into storage.
  • We are offering curbside service (see below), though access to DVD’s and some Children’s materials will be tricky, so may take a little extra time to pull.

Once the Library reopens:

  • Much of the public space on the First Floor will be under construction into Spring of 2021, except for the main checkout area.
  • Both Youth Services and Adult Services will be temporarily housed upstairs until the first floor is finished
  • There will be limited seating and study space, as nearly all Library operations will take place upstairs while renovations continue downstairs.
  • Because of low storage space during Phase 4, we will be unable to accept new Book Club Kit requests until January 1st

“I’m sure the public is tired of our having to close for these renovation changeovers,” says Library Director Darryl Eschete. “The timing has been unfortunate with COVID, but there would be no way to get this work done safely with the public coming and going.”

Curbside pickup service will be available during the library’s closure. Curbside hours will be 9am-7pm Monday through Thursday and 10am-2pm on Fridays and Saturdays. Patrons will place materials on hold using the library’s online catalog and staff will contact them when their materials are ready for pickup in front of the building at 4000 Mills Civic Parkway.

  • In order to prepare affected spaces, we will be closed to the public Aug 31 – Sept 9.
  • We will be unable to provide curbside service during this time, as much of the front of the first floor will be torn up.  Please plan accordingly.
  • We will be answering phones 9am-5pm, Mon-Thurs and 10am-2pm during the closure, except for Labor Day Monday.
  • Beginning September 10th, you will see changes on 1st floor, especially in the newly renovated Circulation Desk area.
  • Over the next few months, we will also be adding a health room, changing the 1st floor copy area (2nd floor copy area is fully open for your use) and more!
  • Phase 4 (final phase – late fall into winter) will include big changes, including a new Teen area!

Thank you for your patience.

The Library will be closed briefly on Monday, March 2nd to allow for the installation of new, permanent furniture on the 2nd floor, along with some one-day intrusive construction activities.  For patron safety, the Library will be closed.

The work also means the library’s public computers will be out of service for the week and back online by the following Monday.

“We anticipate that this should be the last public inconvenience for a while,” says Library Director Darryl Eschete. “Contractors will pause the work before May 1 so staff can prepare for the Summer Reading Program without working around a construction schedule, but there should be no more interruptions until August.”

City Press Release on March 2nd closing

In preparation for the second phase of an ongoing remodeling project, the West Des Moines Public Library will close to the public for the Christmas/New Year holidays at 9pm on December 23rd, and will re-open at 9am on January 3rd, 2020. The few extra days will give staff the opportunity to prepare the Library for Phase 2 of our Renovation Project.

The remodel project has been underway since late October and Phase 1 of the work, which has concentrated on the south side of the second floor, will end just before Christmas. Phase 2 will concentrate on the north side of the second floor, including library administration offices. Edge Commercial of Grimes is the primary contractor.
During the extended December closing, West Des Moines Library staff will:

  • Move and/or store furniture that would be in the contractors’ way in the Phase 2 area.
  • Relocate and reconnect public computers, printers and copiers;
  • Move service desks on 2nd floor to make staff available to patrons in newly-renovated areas of Phase 1.
  • Re-establish administration offices on the first floor in the space most recently used by West Des Moines Parks and Recreation as temporary offices during the renovation of City Hall.

“Shortly after we re-open, our second floor study rooms will be available again,” says Library Director Darryl Eschete. “This works out perfectly; it’s just in time for mid-terms.”
During the closing, book drops will be emptied as usual, so if patrons want to return materials to the Library, staff asks that they please do so, provided what they return can be left in the book drop. Otherwise, staff asks that patrons just hold onto their checked-out items until the library reopens. Due dates will be extended to allow for the extra closed days.

The renovation will ultimately re-purpose the library’s former coffee shop, create a dedicated Young Adult space, update public furnishings, and replace worn carpet and paint throughout the building. The work will also improve existing meeting rooms, add new meeting spaces and upgrade staff work area furniture.

The West Des Moines Public Library was built in 1996 and this project will be the first major renovation of the building since the completion of West Des Moines City Hall in 2003.

The library renovation project is expected to be completed in the spring of 2021, with contractors pausing during the summer of 2020 to allow for summer reading activities.

City of West Des Moines Press Release re: Phase Two

 

It’s Here!  Renovation Prep Begins October 14th

Library Closed October 14-26!

Writing a New Chapter: Like editing a novel, renovation takes time

Want to know more?

Read the October 8, 2019 Press Release,

detailing what will happen while we’re closed – we have a lot of work to do to Write Our Next Chapter!

Key Items:

Meeting Rooms During Renovations – 2nd floor rooms will be Unavailable for several months.

The Parks&Rec office on the 1st floor will continue to be open during our closure.  They will be moving back to City Hall later this fall.

Due dates have been extended, so don’t worry about fines accruing during the closure.

The Iowa History Files program on Sunday the 20th will still happen in the Community Room, though the rest of the Library will be closed.

Library Renovations in the Next 18 Months

July 3, 2019 by Darryl Eschete

It’s time to start letting the world know: the West Des Moines Public Library at 4000 Mills Civic Parkway will be renovated in the next fiscal year, with the work scheduled to start this coming fall, probably in late October or early November. All timelines are tentative for now, but I wanted to share some facts that the community might want to know.

Background

The current library building OPENED TO THE PUBLIC IN 1996, when it was a combination city hall/library. In 2003, city government offices moved out when the current city hall was finished. At that time, walls were removed or painted and new carpet laid. Since then, the library has not undergone any major cosmetic reworking. Here’s what we plan to do in the next year and a half:

  • Update the paint scheme in the library, repairing cracks, holes and dents in the wall as we go;
  • Update the carpet, using patterns and colors to make it easier to differentiate one department of the library from another;
  • Add a dedicated Young Adult/teen area on the first floor. Most of it will be where the library cafe’ space used to be. The FRIENDS FOUNDATION is generously supporting this effort by donating half of the cost of construction;
  • Add more study and conference space;
  • Install new public furnishings;
  • Install new cubicles and workspaces for library staff; the office furniture in the building is 1996 original vintage.
Teens/Young Adults will have their own place to enjoy the library. (Courtesy: STUDIO MELEE.)

Teens/Young Adults will have their own place to enjoy the library. (Courtesy: STUDIO MELEE.)

Downsides

Because the library will be staying in place and open for business during the renovation, the project is being divided into phases and parts of the building will be closed off as the construction crews work. This means that while the work is going on, there will be noise and vibration that might make the library less study-friendly than one would hope. On top of that, large portions of the collection will be in storage and we’ll have to re-arrange what’s left in the building. We’ll be making decisions about what to leave in the building based on past usage: materials that seem to get the most use will stay, materials that get less frequent use will be stored. While our collection is partially in storage, we’ll have to rely on inter-library loan to fill in the gaps.

Also, our private study rooms will be unavailable during the first part of the renovation and small groups won’t really have their own gathering spaces. We plan to use the current Millie Knee Classroom on the second floor as a sort of communal study hall for people looking for a quiet place to work (we’ve even discussed putting a white noise machine in the room to help drown out any ambient construction noise).

From what I’ve been told so far, the work will take all of 2020 and should be done in early 2021. That’s a long time, and we will have to ask for West Des Moines’ patience as it’s happening, but I’m confident the results will be worth the wait.

Feel free to contact me at DARRYL.ESCHETE@WDM.IOWA.GOV with any questions or concerns. More information will be posted here as the project gets closer and begins.