Since March, hundreds of Mahtomedi residents have expressed their hopes for what a new Wildwood Library could offer.
Now the proposed design for the building project — estimated at $6.5 million — delivers much of what residents sought at meetings and through surveys, namely a much larger Washington County library branch built at the same location on Stillwater Avenue.
Renderings include plans for outdoor seating and a fireplace. At 12,780 square feet, the proposed library would have more meeting rooms than exist now and would offer 44 percent more space than the existing 1990 facility.
Construction is expected to begin after July 4th next summer, and it will coincide with the planned County Road 12 improvement project. The new library is projected to open its doors in June 2020.
During construction, the library’s functions will move to a temporary location, which hasn’t yet been identified.
“I think this will be a library that the community is going to be particularly proud of,” said Keith Ryskoski, director of the Washington County Library system.
Walls of glass will bring in natural light, addressing residents’ request for a bright and welcoming space.
Multiple meeting spaces will allow for more programming and options for groups of all sizes hoping to gather at the library, Ryskoski said. The current building has just one meeting room, and it lacks a projector for presentations.
Adding separate spaces for children and teenagers will allow for more hands-on programs.
“That flexibility of space is really important,” Ryskoski said, adding that libraries have become a kind of “third space” between home and work. Patrons want a place where they can focus but also relax, he said.
Much of the proposed design, which is still being finalized, came from ideas and desires expressed by the community.
Residents said they wanted to keep the library at its existing location and maintain its neighborhood feel, said Mandy Leonard, the building services project manager for Washington County.
“It’s been really nice to see a community that has been this participatory in the process,” Leonard said.