Portage County Public Library
Stevens Point, Wisconsin
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Carow · Architects · Planners designed the 50,000 square foot Portage County Public Library located in the Main Street Historic District of Stevens Point, Wisconsin. This project began as a series of feasibility studies which explored various options for the new library, ranging from complete demolition of all of the existing buildings on the Main Street site, to preservation and reuse of them all. The firm prepared five schemes, each with five variations for a total of twenty-five different options. These were presented to the City Council and to the Library Board, and the recommended scheme was chosen unanimously.
The new library reuses the facades of historic buildings built between 1872 and 1900, they were cleaned and their metal work was restored. Both front and rear entrances of the two-story structure are served by one circulation desk on the main floor. Other first floor features include: new books, fiction, audio-visual, magazines, circulation workrooms, technical services, and a 3,000 square foot meeting room. The meeting room is designed to recreate the period of the original buildings with bronze Carnegie doors and transom panel from the former library, lead glass windows, and tin ceiling.
The lower floor is
reserved for the children’s library, story-telling room, extension services,
and mechanical rooms. The second floor houses non-fiction, young adult,
reference collections, and administrative offices. All three floors are
connected by an open stairway and elevators.