Performance Driven, Poetically Crafted Architecture

Sheehan Nagle Hartray Architects’ Design Approved for St. Charles Public Library Renovation and Expansion

January 28, 2020

CHICAGO – Sheehan Nagle Hartray Architects (SNHA) has received approval from St. Charles Public Library District and the City of St. Charles to complete an $18.6 million renovation and expansion for the St. Charles Public Library (SCPL).

The complex project unifies three existing sections of the library and reintegrates the original Carnegie Library into daily library activities. When complete, the building will occupy nearly 66,500-square-feet.

The design will improve the user experience accommodating the latest library service trends and creating more user-friendly environments including a sunken courtyard that will flood the below-grade children’s area with natural light. Additional site planning will also address the underutilization of the property, which extends to approximately three-quarters of a block.

“We worked closely with the team at SCPL to develop a design that addresses a variety of space needs and planning challenges,” said Don McKay, AIA, principal at SNHA. “Additional consideration was given to the renovation of the original Carnegie Library, which was constructed in 1908. Together we sought a design that would unify the entire building and complement the Carnegie Library.”

New design features include additional meeting spaces and public seating, individual and group study rooms, a Youth Library and dedicated teen space as well as expanded work areas for library staff.

SNHA’s design for the renovation and expansion project features:

  • new building entry, the location of which will integrate the original Carnegie Library into daily library activities.
  • new main stair and elevator that will improve accessibility by their location near the entry.
  • new public meeting room located near the library entry, acoustically isolated individual and group study rooms, a Youth Library program room and a dedicated teen space.
  • A maker space to include fully equipped AV studio for music or podcast recording.
  • Additional public seating, much of which is concentrated in the Library’s existing light-filled two-story space.
  • A sunken courtyard that will dramatically increase daylight into the lower level Youth Library and will accommodate outdoor library programming.
  • Expanded and consolidated staff work areas.
  • A completely re-planned site that increases parking, improves safety, adds a drive-up service window and creates landscaped site amenities.

“Our joint goal for this project was to improve the overall experience for library patrons. When complete, the library will house state-of-the-art features and added amenities that will allow for better utilization of the space,” said Amy Schmieding, AIA, LEEP AP, architect at SNHA. “SCPL will truly be a place for community members, young and old, to learn, create and come together.”

The Library’s Construction Manager plans to break ground in March 2020 with expected completion in 2021.