Building Insights from John Dancer and Bob Spence
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<<First Name>>, with the new Interlochen Public Library Campaign entering its final phase, we asked the project’s architect and construction supervisor for an update on what comes next...
Designed for the Community
John Dancer, RA, AIA, Vice President Cornerstone Architects, Traverse City
The preliminary plan for the new library was developed almost four years ago. Has anything changed?
Patrons First
The library design has been updated from the preliminary drawing. However, the underlying criteria is the same – who is using the space and why. The library design takes into consideration usage patterns and future needs for different sets of patrons. In the current library, children and children’s programming compete for space with everything else. Teens just plop down wherever they find space. In the new plan, we have a dedicated teen room and an enclosed children’s area with elements designed uniquely for them.
Best Practices
We’ve continued to keep abreast of best practices and employ them where it makes sense for this project. More than a decade ago, we designed the Bonisteel Academic and Music Library at Interlochen Center for the Arts. It required an in-depth knowledge of archival storage for both recorded and printed music. There are unique aspects to every design. The Interlochen Public Library and Community Center is the hub of the community. The multi-faceted design we’ve created coincides with a national resurgence of libraries as community spaces. In fact, we’re on the leading edge of the trend.
Fine Tuning
In a major fundraising campaign, it’s important to get something on paper early so donors can visualize the project. However, a final cost estimate can’t be made until what were originally general ideas become very specific. Also, location and site characteristics point design in a certain direction. With these in mind, we review and fine-tune each element of the design. We’ve had time now to better define how patrons will experience the library and subsequently made changes. Efficiency, in terms of space and ongoing operational expenses has been studied. For instance, instead of allotting space for pc workstations, Chromebooks will be available for patrons. The fireplace – part of the design from the beginning – has been researched and specified to maximize energy savings.
Labor Pool Impacts Timeline
Bob Spence, Vice President, Spence Brothers, Traverse City
What can the community expect in terms of the construction process? When will you break ground?
The labor pool is our biggest challenge as the area is experiencing a shortage of construction workers. The projection is to begin excavation at the end of summer or early fall.
What is the timeline for the construction?
Our first goal is to have the building enclosed before the snow flies. That will give our firm, as well as sub-contractors, the winter to work on all the interior details.
Spence Brothers has been supportive of the new Interlochen Public Library from the beginning. Why is it important for your company to be a part of this project?
We’ve been doing business in Michigan for more than a century.  Historically, we’ve been involved in projects central to community life – a courthouse, stadium, town hall, or hospital.  The Interlochen Public Library is one of those projects. It’s an important project for the Interlochen community and for many of Spence Brother’s employees.
View this 3D rendering of our new library building!
Thanks to you, the library will be built! Please stay tuned for groundbreaking and construction updates.
Copyright © 2017 Friends of Interlochen Public Library, All rights reserved.

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