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  Fort Smith Public Library, Page 46Fort Smith Public Library
Architects
Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle, Ltd. 
119 North 2nd Street, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1420
www.msrltd.com

Location:
Fort Smith, Arkansas
Total Square Feet: 67,675
Construction Period: July 1999 to Feb 2001

Construction Team
Associate Architect: MAHG Architecture - 302 North 6th Street, Fort Smith, AR 72901
General Contractor: Van Horn Construction, Inc. - 2106 E. 16th Street, Russellville, AR 72802
Structural Engineer: Meyer, Borgman & Johnson, Inc. - 12 South 6th Street, #810, Minneapolis, MN 55402
Electrical & Mechanical engineer: TME, Inc. - 5800 Evergreen Drive, #A, Little Rock, AR 72205
Landscape Architect: Howell & Vancuren, Inc. - 111 W. 5th Street #M100, Tulsa, OK 74103

In 1997, the residents of Fort Smith approved a capital improvement program for the Fort Smith Public Library. The plan called for the construction of a new Main Library and three Branch Library facilities. The new facilities emphasize patron and customer service by building upon the library’s traditional resources, yet still providing a setting that will allow the library to implement and extend its use of newer, electronic information resources. The new buildings support and facilitate an effective blend of the library of today and the library of tomorrow. The new main library features the following: 

Approximately 64,000 square feet, distributed over two floors that will support library services to a projected population of 102,500 residents;

Shelving space for more than 246,000 books, 496 periodicals, an expanded genealogy and local history collection, and almost 15,000 non-print items such as CD-ROMs, DVDs, video and audio cassettes;

The use of the latest information technologies with over 80 on-line computer stations for public access to the catalogue, Internet and other databases;

A multi-purpose public meeting room with seating for 150 people; 

A comprehensive children’s area including a technology center and story hour room and a young adult area specifically for teenagers;

A customer service oriented facility with generous aisle widths, group study rooms, specialized lighting and acoustical control.

The library is designed as a bridge between the past and the future, placing a design emphasis on the patron and customer experience by building upon the library’s traditional resources, yet still providing a setting that will allow the library to implement and extend its use of newer, electronic information resources. Given the rich history of brick structures in Fort Smith the character of the building is inspired by vernacular tradition.

The intent, however, is not to replicate buildings of the past, but rather to establish a strong and memorable physical image of the library within the community. The Main Library achieves this through a delicate mixture of design, material, and details. Brick, stone, and copper are used extensively as exterior materials, and are detailed in a similar way to the craftsmanship of the late 19th century.

The interior is organized around the main entry and monumental stairs. From the main public entrance, patrons move through the brick arched portico, pass the circulation desk, and arrive in front of the monumental stair at the confluence of a main aisle leading to the Children’s New Book, Audio-Visual, and Fiction collections on the first floor. Periodical, Genealogy, Nonfiction and Reference areas on the second floor are highlighted by a two-story central space with clerestory windows to the East. These clerestory windows provide gentle, even and comfortable daylight throughout the second floor of the library. The interior design makes use of retailing strategies to encourage self-service awareness and access to the collection by the public.

Manufacturers/Suppliers
DIV 04: Stone: Cold Spring Granite.
DIV 07: Composite Metal Panels: Alcan; Metal Roof: Berridge Manufacturing; Insulation: Dow Corning.
DIV 08: Windows, Entrances & Storefronts: Tubelite.
DIV 09: Sheathing: Georgia Pacific Dens Glas®; Metal Framing: Dietrich Industries; Carpet: Lees.
 


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