Johnson County moves forward with replacement plan for Antioch Library

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MERRIAM, Kan. — Community leaders are now one step closer to replacing the oldest library in Merriam. 

Thursday the Johnson County Special Public Building Commission unanimously approved a bid for architectural services on the Antioch Library Replacement project. 

The $1,132,300 contract was awarded to Dake Wells Architecture, Inc. 

“We will start designing right away. That will go on probably most of this year. We will also shortly select a construction manager to help with the design process,” Brad Reinhardt, director of facilities management for Johnson County, said. 

Johnson County Library Project Coordinator Scott Sime said the next step will be working with the community leaders and residents to decide how the new library will be designed. 

“It will be really exciting to design what the future looks like for the library in that community,” Sime said. 

The new library will be built less than a mile away on the Merriam Community Center Campus. The project is expected to cost approximately $13.68 million to complete.   

“We want to talk with staff and talk with the public about what they want to see at that new building,” Sime said. 

Sime said in during renovations at other county libraries, people have been requesting things like:

  • More windows and options for natural light throughout the library
  • A drive-thu window
  • Conference rooms and private meeting spaces
  • Updated books and materials
  • Designated kid spaces/ kid reading zones
  • Upgraded technical services

Stephanie Kelman-Thornton said she’s been using the Antioch Library for nearly a decade, and considers it her “happy place.” Kelman-Thornton said when the new library is built, she would like it to have more reading nooks and a larger selection of books. 

“I would like to see a lot of books. A lot of books, lots more books,” Kelman-Thornton said. 

The new library is expected to open sometime in 2023. Sime said the library will likely continue to provide service through the existing building until it’s time to move over books and materials into the new location. 

“When we built the new Lenexa Library, we built that and the Lackman Library was still open just right up until about six weeks before the new building opened. I suspect that’s the way it will work too for Antioch,” Sime said. 

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