Boulder Library Architect Selection

Boulder Library Architect Selection

Boulder Public Library

Courtesy of The Denver Post

After Humphries Poli (HP) completed a 2009 facilities study for the Boulder Main Public Library, library director Valerie Maginnis and several library commissioners felt that the firm was qualified and knew Boulder well enough to take on the project based on their ideas of redesign. However, there is conflict in this matter.

The facilities study isn’t necessarily under dispute. What is in question is the process through which Humphries Poli was selected by Maginnis. Mary McCarthy, a former Boulder Public Library employee of 20 years, is concerned that the firm doesn’t know Boulder well enough to take on the project. Moreover, she believes that a more competitive process should be implemented to find the firm most qualified for the redesign.

McCarthy has strong opinions of the library, stating that the current design is “hideous” and that the city can “spend three months ethically and fairly seeking competitive bids from experienced urban design companies, firms capable of addressing and solving urban public library problems.” She doesn’t want them to “get it wrong again”.

Humphries Poli hasn’t been hired yet as the Boulder Library Architect, but McCarthy is concerned that they will be through a sole-source option, as opposed to a more competitive process. Back in 2008, however, HP was chosen to do the facilities study, even though 18 were asked to answer the city’s questions. Only two responded, and Humphries Poli was one of them.

It seems that HP is favored by Maginnis and several of the commissioners in large part because of its public input process. The firm strongly considers public feedback when designing and stated this fact to the board without preliminary prompting.

Earlier this moth, the library commission voted 3-2 to support Maginnis’ request for the project to be given to Humphries Poli; however Boulder spokesperson Patrick Von Keyserling stated that it’s still early in the process.

$2.45 million has been allocated by the voters to remodel the first floor of the main library, which includes the media area, children’s and teen sections, as well as the circulation desk and adult literacy classrooms.

The firm that is granted this project is to be determined.

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