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Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

Why not improve the current building?

Originally intended as a warehouse, the building is not well suited to meet the needs of a growing community or offer 21st century library programs and services. Retaining the existing 4-story portion of the building has been studied and the team has concluded that it is not a sustainable solution for the long-term.

Why not build in a new location? The Library and Center for Arts & History play a vital role in the City’s vision of making Boise the most livable city in the country. Investing in the current location with a thoughtful masterplan for linking the city’s cultural, natural/recreational, and educational resources activates cultural vitality and economic development in a downtown core and ensures that we build a lasting civic space for generations to come.

Why include an event space?

Through competitive inventory observations conducted by AMS Planning & Research, no one venue has the desired blend of accessibility, sense of occasion, and technical capabilities in Boise. The performing arts sector has great interest in modern technical and acoustic features, but its ability to increase rental fees or other venue costs to upgrade is limited. By the same token, quality user and audience experience is of rising interest, with emphasis on sense of occasion for participants of varying ages, abilities and means. A financially accessible space, accommodating to a variety of disciplines, delivering quality experience and appropriately sized for users has generated the most interest and meets the greatest need.

The Cabin is not shown in initial design sketches. Why?

The Cabin may move. The City of Boise is working with the Cabin's Executive Director and Board to find a sustainable solution for the organization that will allow the Cabin to maintain their physical identify with minimal disruption to programs and services.

What is the impact on the Anne Frank Memorial?

The Anne Frank Memorial will be incorporated into the landscape architecture of the new campus.

How will the library handle service during construction? The Boise Public Library plans to continue to service the public at the Main Library and will post all changes of services to the Library's website. A phasing plan is in development.

Budget / Cost

Why has the budget increased from $60-78M to $80-85M?

Preliminary estimates were between $64-78 million and did not reflect that conceptual design as it stands.  The project cost will continue to be studied as the project design and scope are defined, and as market conditions evolve. The project team will continue to look at strategies for maximizing return for the project budget as designs mature.

What is the total estimated cost of all the elements included in the current master plan design?

The total cost of the project is changing every day as we work with the design team and the construction managers to value engineer the project and make it more efficient so we can get the cost to $80-$85 million where it needs to be to proceed.

But I read/heard/saw that the cost is $103 million. Isn’t that the total cost?
Over the last twenty years we have had estimates for this project ranging from $40 million all the way up to $120 million.  The only number that matters is the $80-85 million figure which is the amount that is budgeted and what we are working toward every day.  There are thousands of variables that go into the cost of project this complex, but we have one of the best architect firms in the world and highly skilled construction managers who are working to get project costs to where they need to be, so I wouldn’t pay too much attention to the figure you read, because it’s already changed.

What about the event space? There were some renderings that showed it in the project and some that showed it out.  What is the cost with and without that included?

The multi-use event space is one of the many elements that we are exploring to get the costs in line with our budget. One of the advantages of the event space is that would be perfect item for a specific arts-based philanthropic gift or naming opportunity, so we are exploring different opportunities that may be separate from the project as a whole.  This is just another example of the many aspects of this project that are still being worked on, we just felt it was time to get the current design of the project out to the public so we could continue the public feedback that we’ve been doing with residents for years on this project.

Sustainability / Riparian Environment

What type of sustainability rating will this building pursue?

One of our goals is to develop a sustainable facility that meets city energy goals and demonstrates a commitment to the health of our community. Safdie Architects has teamed up with global climate engineers Atelier Ten to integrate efficiency into the building and take advantage of existing sustainable features, such as geothermal heating. We will have more details as we move into the schematic design phase.

There is a lot of glass facing the river. What about the birds?

Bird strikes are a concern.  Methods to mitigate bird strikes will be studied during design and proactively integrated into the project.