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Colfax approves sending out RFPs for new library and village hall

By LeAnn R. Ralph

COLFAX —  Colfax has started the ball rolling toward the possibility of building a new library or a new multipurpose building to house the library, village offices and the police department.

The Colfax Village Board accepted a space needs assessment for the clerk’s office and the police department and also approved a request for proposals (RFP) at the September 22 meeting.

 The request for proposals is asking for preliminary cost estimates for four options: a stand-alone library; a single story multi-use facility for the clerk, library and police department; a two-story multi-use facility for the clerk, library and police department; a single-story multi-use facility for the library and police department.

The requests for proposals asks that the four options be considered for the Dairy State Bank lot and also for a separate lot that is not identified but which presumably would not have the configuration of the Dairy State lot.

Dairy State Bank has offered to donate the lot west and south of the bank for a new library.

The Colfax Library Board has officially accepted the donation.

The Colfax Village Board has not officially accepted the donation.

Village hall

The space needs assessment, conducted by Cedar Corporation out of Menomonie, concluded that the village clerk’s office and the police department — to have adequate room for operation with existing personnel and no new employees — would need a total of 4,500 square feet in a single-story building of approximately 5,500 square feet.

The village clerk’s office and the police department currently have about 1,300 square feet available.

To put it into perspective, Kyle’s Market in Colfax is a 10,000 square-foot building, so enough room to operate the clerk’s office and the police department would be about half of the space available at Kyle’s Market.

The administrator-clerk-treasurer and deputy clerk’s office currently does not have a reception area, a separate work room for the photo-copier and to store maps, archives and village records; a break room; a conference room; a room for public meetings and elections; and no general storage area.

Public meetings are currently held in the clerk’s office without much room to accommodate members of the public who may want to attend those meetings.

Members of the public who are interested in addressing the village board or who would like to hear discussions of items on the agenda must sit on chairs squeezed into the corners of the room or on chairs placed around the deputy clerk’s desk or on chairs that put them into the position of peering over the shoulders of village board members.

Police department

The space needs assessment for the Colfax Police Department indicates that the department has no reception area, no interview room, and no restroom with a shower (to allow police officers to shower if they become contaminated in the course of their work).  The police department also does not have a storage area, a garage, a break room or a training room.

The Colfax Police Department currently has 740 square-feet but needs more than twice that much space at 1,654 square feet.

The space needs assessment indicates that the village clerk’s office and the police department could share space for a break room and a combination conference room and training room.

The police department’s squad vehicles currently are parked in the Department of Public Works building, which is four blocks away from the police department.

The space needs assessment indicates that it would be better if the police squad vehicles were parked in a garage on-site at the police department.

Basement and upstairs

The space needs assessment also mentions that the Colfax Municipal Building’s basement currently is not used because of moisture problems.

The assessment mentions, too, that the auditorium upstairs is not handicapped accessible and that the exits required to meet the fire code have “structural concerns” that need review.

Last fall, because of mold in the basement, the Colfax Village Board paid about $17,000 to have the basement cleaned and to have some of the wall covering removed. The village board spent another $2,500 to have the wood floor removed.

The basement has not yet been remodeled to make it a usable space.

Library

The space needs assessment did not directly address the needs of the Colfax Public Library because a separate space needs assessment was done for the library several years ago.

The Colfax Public Library currently has 1,800 square feet.

Lisa Ludwig, director of the Colfax Public Library, has said that a new library would require 10,000 square feet to accommodate current programming needs and to plan for future programming.

A “municipal usable space comparison” was included with the space needs assessment for the village, but the square footage numbers included for various libraries were not the most recent numbers available from the state Department of Public Instruction for public libraries in 2013.

The usable space comparison also was only based on the population of the municipality and not the service population of the library.

Colfax has a population of 1,158 but the library’s service population, which includes residents in surrounding townships for whom Dunn County provides 100 percent library funding, is 3,121.

Based on service population of libraries, the DPI’s 2013 statistics indicate that Woodville, with a service population of 2,429, which is less than the Colfax service population of 3,121, has a 4,416 square-foot library.

Boyceville also has a service population less than Colfax at 2,869 but has a 3,270 square foot library.

In the southern part of the state, Whitewater has a service population of 2,771, compared to 3,121 for Colfax, but has a 14,900 square-foot library.

Trempealeau, with a service population of 500 more than Colfax, has a 7,600 square-foot library.

Abbotsford, with a service population of 3,014 (slightly less than Colfax), has a 6,000 square-foot library.

Clintonville, with a service population about 500 more than Colfax, has a 14,124 square-foot library.

Three Lakes, with a service population of 2,400 (about 700 less than Colfax) has a 10,000 square-foot library.

Timeline

The timeline for the preliminary cost estimates for the four building options sets the deadline for the return of proposals at 4 p.m. on November 28.

The Colfax Village Board will review references for the architectural/engineering companies that submit RFPs and will interview those companies in December.

The village board will negotiate and execute a contract with the selected architectural and engineering company in January or February of 2015.

A town hall meeting to present the options and the preliminary cost estimates to residents in Colfax and the surrounding townships (the Colfax public library’s service area) will be held after the architectural firm is selected.