PBC to Complete Design and Renovation of Harold Washington Children’s Library

Bryant Payne, Public Building Commission, (312) 744-9277

Today, the Board of Commissioners of the Public Building Commission of Chicago approved an undertaking to complete the remaining design and construction for the Thomas Hughes Children’s Library renovation project in the Harold Washington Library Center at 400 South State Street.

The move follows Mayor Emanuel and the Chicago Public Library’s goals to provide access to quality early education programming year round. With the Board’s action today, the PBC will complete the remaining design activities, including the preparation of construction drawings for public bid and the required environmental assessment. In addition, the undertaking will allow the PBC to proceed with the bidding and construction of the $2.3 million project funded through a grant from Exelon Corporation to the Chicago Public Library Foundation.

“The PBC is excited to support the Mayor’s goal of providing additional community resources to our earliest learners,” said Felicia Davis, Executive Director of the Public Building Commission. “When completed, the Thomas Hughes Children’s Library at Harold Washington Library Center will serve as a benchmark for future CPL renovation projects.”

The scope of the project includes renovation of the existing Children’s Library, the demolition and interior build-out of 24,620 square feet on the second floor and upgraded information technology infrastructure. The project also includes a blend of new furnishings and existing office furniture to be moved into the renovated space.

Gensler Architects, a Chicago-based architectural design firm, will serve as the project’s Architect of Record and will work with the PBC to create a welcoming, flexible space that provides access to library services. The PBC anticipates bidding the contract in October 2016 and appointing a General Contractor at the November 2016 Board meeting, with a substantial completion date tentatively scheduled for April 2017.

Other items approved by the PBC’s Board of Commissioners include the appointment of Robe, Inc., for the faculty room renovation and intercom repair project at Wildwood World Magnet School. Robe Inc. is the first of the PBC’s list of 25 pre-qualified licensed General Contractors, Classes B through E, to be awarded prime General Contractor on a PBC project.

Traditionally, the PBC has exclusively pre-qualified Class A contractors, which restricts the participation of smaller, minority and women-owned firms to the subcontracting level. Understanding the importance of prime contracts for emerging firms, the PBC is now committed to increasing contracting opportunities so that smaller firms can expand their experience.

In addition, the PBC remains at the forefront of igniting economic community development by expanding competitive business opportunities for both construction and professional services in the delivery of projects. The PBC issued a request for Letters of Interest and Qualifications (LIQ) from firms interested in providing engineering services to the agency. Firms were asked to demonstrate their experience within their core discipline(s) along with a portfolio of unique/challenging projects that accurately illustrates the firm’s breadth, depth and range.

This LIQ is for the foreseeable assortment of project types to be developed by the PBC in the near future and supports the PBC’s 2016 initiative of capacity-building within the professional services community. The PBC received 49 proposals, of which 23 are certified MBE and WBE firms.


About Chicago Public Library: Since 1873, Chicago Public Library (CPL) has encouraged lifelong learning by welcoming all people and offering equal access to information, entertainment and knowledge through innovative services and programs, as well as cutting-edge technology. Through its 80 locations, the Library provides free access to a rich collection of materials, both physical and digital, and presents the highest quality author discussions, exhibits and programs for children, teens and adults. CPL received the Social Innovator Award from Chicago Innovation Awards; won a National Medal for Library Services from the Institute for Museum and Library Services; was named the first ever winner of the National Summer Learning Association’s Founder’s Award in recognition of its Summer Learning Challenge; and was ranked number one in the U.S., and third in the world by an international study of major urban libraries conducted by the Heinrich Heine University Dusseldorf in Germany. For more information, please call (312) 747-4050 or visit chipublib.org.

About the Public Building Commission: The Public Building Commission of Chicago manages construction and renovation projects for the City of Chicago and its sister agencies. Mayor Rahm Emanuel serves as the PBC’s chairman. Felicia S. Davis serves as the Executive Director of the PBC. Additional information about the PBC and its projects can be found at www.pbcchicago.com. You can also follow the Public Building Commission of Chicago on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Flickr.