SOUTHINGTON — Town leaders chose a Boston-based architectural firm to design a new library and determine whether incorporating the existing building is feasible.
The Town Council voted Monday night to hire Tappé Architects, the second firm recommended to the council by the library board.
The town earmarked $35,000 to draw up plans for a new library. Library director Kristi Sadowski said there are accessibility, fire code and space issues with the current building downtown, which was built in the 1970s.
Councilors had concerns about the first company the library board recommended, QA+M Architecture of Farmington, and wanted one with more experience with libraries.
Library board chairman Kevin Curtiss said board members were initially concerned about an out-of-state company but did appreciate how many libraries Tappé had completed. After discussions with the company, board members were assured that Tappé had the resources.
The company offered examples of libraries they’d designed that were traditional, modern and a blend of both.
“I’m very confident that they’ll be able to design something that’s very special for Southington,” Curtiss said.
Councilor Kelly Morrissey asked whether the company had been told to incorporate the old building or not.
“Have we given them clear direction?” she said.
Curtiss said new construction may be more cost effective, but wanted the architects’ opinion.
“Part of what they’ll do is look at the old building and see if it can be salvaged,” he said.
Library leaders said they have a budget of about $10 million for the new building. Voters would have to approve the project at a referendum.
Curtiss said Tappé would interview town and library officials and assess the current building over the next few months. The company will then give town leaders some options for the new building.