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  Freeport Public Library, Page 16Freeport Public Library
8710 Earhart Lane, S.W., Cedar Rapids, IA 52404

Freeport, Illinois
Total Square Feet: 43,008
Construction Period: Aug 2002 to Oct 2003 

STRUCTURAL ENGINEER: M2B Structural Engineers, LLP - 422 2nd Avenue, S.E., #B, Cedar Rapids, IA 52401
GENERAL CONTRACTOR: J. P. Cullen and Sons Inc. - P.O. Box 1957, Janesville, WI 53547
ELECTRICAL & MECHANICAL ENGINEER: Howard R. Green Co. - 8710 Earhart Lane, S.W., Cedar Rapids, IA 52404
COST ESTIMATOR: Stecker-Harmson, Inc. - 103 E. 6th Street, #201, Ames, IA 50010

The City of Freeport, Illinois has dreamed of a new public library since the early 90's.

The building opened the week before Christmas in 2003. The total design effort required the Howard R. Green Company to engage in 9 different site studies before the actual location could be determined. The site itself shares several unique historical precedents. During the summer of 1858, a senatorial campaign was waged between Abraham Lincoln and Senator Douglas. The heart of the debates was the issue of slavery and the locations were at 7 different cities in the state. The site directly to the east of the new library is commemorated historically in a special park area since it is one of the original locations of these debates. A local resident donated this site, the former home of an abandoned auto dealership building to the City, which finally got the project moving ahead in late 2000. The street between the sites has been closed to make one continuous site to emphasize the importance of the library to the historical fabric of the community. 

The meeting rooms' portion of the building is angled towards the city square and entrances to the main lobby are provided on either side of the facility to encourage entrances from both adjacent streets. The main street on the south being the business route for Illinois Highway 75.

Due to the parking requirements for a 42,000-square-foot library, the building is designed as a 2-story structure in order to accommodate 100 cars on site, a small sculpture garden and sufficient green space.

The building is constructed of two colors of brick, buff colored limestone trim and large areas of fixed glass in Kynar® colored frames. Roof overhangs are 6- foot deep with a 4:1 slope to keep the scale more humanistic. The building has become a focal point of the downtown aesthetically and functionally. The main floor of the building contains the lobby, a coffee shop, meeting rooms, a local history room, circulation services, technical services and the children's library. The second floor contains all of the adult collection including study rooms, periodicals, etc. as well as the administrative offices of the library.

The Children's area, including their program room, opens onto an exterior courtyard to create a visual connection to the debate site, as well as providing space for group reading programs in pleasant weather.

The interior spaces make use of both strong and subtle colors, and details which integrate the design of custom wood end panels, furniture choices, with the public stair and open well railings.

A fund raising project is now underway, initiated by the local newspaper, to create a fountain sculpture to serve as a link between the debate site and the library site in the area of the existing closed street. A project that was initially hard to get community support for has finally been accepted as the centerpiece of the downtown area as it continues to serve its community into the 21st Century.

DIV 07: EIFS: Sto Corp.
DIV 08: Curtainwall, Storefront, Doors: Vistawall; Glass: Arch Aluminum & Glass Co.; Automatic Door Operators: Dor-O-Matic; Locks, Exit Devices, Door Closers: Sargent; Metal Doors & Frames: Curries; Wood Doors: Graham.
DIV 09: Acoustical Treatment: Armstrong Cirrus™, Tectum, BPB; Wood Ceiling: Rulon; Drywall: Georgia Pacific; Steel Studs: Dietrich.

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