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Cokato Library Starts First Phase in Expansion

The Friends of the Cokato Area Library, the Cokato Museum and Historical Society together with the city of Cokato will share in the cost of a site analysis for the future expansion of the Cokato Public Library and Cokato Museum. Going forward the architectural firm of Short, Elliot, Hendrickson, Inc, (SEH) will perform an extensive study that would include an assessment of the library space, a construction analysis for building onto the existing structure and into the north lot, and an architectural rendering of what the future building would look like (schematic design).

The Library Expansion Committee spent the summer researching architectural firms and site possibilities. The committee chose SEH based on specific criteria, interviews and presentations.

The criteria used in the selection process were:

  • Experience with libraries, both new and renovation of existing structures.
  • Having an experienced staff under one roof – engineers, grant writers.
  • Experience with small communities.
  • Familiarity with Cokato.
  • Recommended by Branch Managers in the GRRL system.

After reviewing the information the committee gathered from three architectural firms they decided to pursue the expansion of the present library and the museum building into the Paulson lot/parking lot based on the following:

  • An expansion project shows greater potential for grant and low interest loan funding.
  • Library and museum staying in one structure maintains an 80-year tradition.
  • The city would not have to acquire more property; the city owns the lot north of the existing building and the adjoining parking lot.
  • Proximity to Cokato Elementary School and Peterson Park.
  • There is adequate existing parking in the adjacent lot and streets.
  • Structural integrity of the existing library/museum building is more conducive to expansion.

The members of the Library Expansion Committee are: Bruce Johnson (mayor of Cokato), Mary Ackerman (President of Friends of the Cokato Area Library), Mike Worcester, (Cokato Museum Director), Chuck Miller (representative from Cokato’s Economic and Development Association), Sheila Rieke (manager for GRRL Cokato branch) and Bob Gasch (citizen).