Renovation and Addition

The project: The L.E. Phillips Memorial Library, originally constructed in 1976, needed an upgrade and additional space for programming and community gatherings. A feasibility study and space needs analysis conducted in 2017 revealed that many systems in the building were at the end of their useful life and that the library needed to increase in size to accommodate current use and future growth.

Design scope: IMEG provided structural design for the new addition and the renovation, which also included designing new steel bridges that span the existing gallery space and are hung from the roof framing above. The team also expanded the elevator shaft to meet the new community room’s occupancy codes and requirements.

Challenge: Designing the new column base plates for the addition and connecting them to the existing. Solution: When the roofing materials were removed, the team discovered that the as-built condition at the top of the existing columns was different than shown in the existing drawings, so they had to be creative with base plate configurations to work with the existing conditions. The floor was raised to hide these framing elements and ensure that the stairs to the addition would be positioned correctly with the existing stairs.

Challenge: Working with the post-tensioned concrete floor system, which made moving mechanical systems up through space to the addition difficult. Solution: The design team worked closely with the architect to locate floor openings to minimize impacts to the existing post-tensioned reinforcing.

Challenge: Unique geometry of the roof framing. Solution: The interior structure matches the pitches of the exterior,
so the structural team worked closely with the MEP team to ensure systems would fit. Structural engineers also collaborated with the architect to achieve their desired aesthetic.

The outcome: The newly remodeled library now offers more than books to its community; it’s a destination for creativity, innovation, and learning. The library houses a new 200-seat community room, expanded children’s area, space for tweens and teens, public meeting rooms and quiet spaces for study, and an Innovation Lab with a full kitchen for hosting events, workshops, and classes. Additional features include a used bookstore, art gallery, catering kitchen, and rooftop terrace.

L.E. Phillips Memorial Library
Eau Claire, WI
6,800-sf Addition | 61,000-sf renovation
Services Provided