Friday, March 31, 2017

South Haven Memorial Library Renovation Plans

The South Haven Memorial Library is looking to renovate and expand its current facilities through a millage with the City of South Haven and South Haven Charter Township on May 2.  The .25 mil rate will mean an additional twenty-five cents for every one thousand dollars of taxable value to property owners within the City and Township.  The $2.3 million total project costs will be secured through a USDA loan, backed by the 40 year millage.  The library is working with a conceptual plan focusing on a new footprint of the building, with final decisions on design to come after the passage of the millage.  The millage is required to pass in both municipalities in order for the renovations to proceed.

The library will be looking to address ADA accessibility issues by restructuring the current stair access from the municipal parking lot to the west, and including a switch-back ramp up to the current sidewalk.  There will be an expansion of the current west entry canopy leading up to the newly remodeled and expanded entryway.  The current east entry will be closed off to make room for three new public restrooms.  While the library does not own any public parking there is also a proposal to add several new handicap parking spaces pending permission from the Post Office. 

The interior of the building will see an expansion of approximately 2,100 square feet to add to the library’s current 11,000 square feet.  There will be additional soft-seating, study space, and collection space added, as well as carpeting and furnishings.  Staff workspace will be reorganized for better efficiency, and the current office space for the director will be eliminated to provide more public floor space.

Current occupancy restrictions in the library community room limit events to no more than 80 people.  This means that many of the programs put on by the library during the summer are restricted to a set number of children, with the end result being that some children are not able to participate.  The current renovation proposal will address this with the installation of a movable wall that will allow the community room to be opened up to the children’s area, and allow increased participation for all in attendance. 

 Finally, some of the ongoing issues with the building to be fixed include, one of the basements that is frequently wet and not usable in its present condition.  The aging roof of the library, which is now beyond the warranty period, can be replaced.  The exterior walls of the building are currently not insulated and have lower insulating value than the windows.  The library has three separate HVAC systems that will be consolidated.  The electrical system for the front of the building will be addressed, to include light switches for turning the lights on and off.  Light switches will replace the existing system that requires the staff to use the circuit box. 

The South Haven Memorial Library has served the community in its present location since 1958, with the last major renovation occurring in 1989.  This library project addresses issues with the current building to ensure the needs of the community now and in the future.

Please contact the Library Director, Jim France, if you have any questions.


  1. What is the cost to build an entirely new library rather than remodeling the current building?

  2. Thank you for your question! The estimated costs for a new building our current size would be $4-5 million alone. On top of that, if it were in a new location we would need to factor in costs of purchasing property, as well as construction of a parking lot that would have a minimum of 73 designated parking spaces per city ordinance. Then there would be the relocation costs to move everything from the current building to the new one. It was an option that was explored by the library board, but in consultation with the city the board made the decision that it would be best to renovate the current location.