Trustees Select Main Renovation Architect – News Release and Q & A Information

Q and A – Information on the Architect Selection for the Main Library Renovation

The Library Board of Trustees would like to provide additional information on the selection of the architect for the Main Library renovation to clarify the process used, in light of interest from the public. More information can be found in the accompanying news release, which is below.

The Board of Trustees of the Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County, at a special meeting April 25, 2019, voted to accept the recommendation of the Building and Sites Committee to hire Bostwick Design Partnership of 2729 Prospect Ave., Cleveland, as architect for the Main Library renovation project.

  • Was the award made to a local applicant?
    • The 11 applicants were all teams and none were exclusively from the Mahoning Valley.
    • Two Youngstown applicants were included in the accepted proposal from Bostwick Design Partners of Cleveland: RBF CoLab and Paul Hagman, collaborating architect restoration design, and CT Consultants, civil engineers.
    • Finding the right applicant to entrust with renovation of this 108-year-old Carnegie library was a priority. It is reasonable to assume that applicants would put together a team with the proper expertise for this historic library and that not all would be local. The Board expects that throughout this process and the construction, the local economy will benefit from the Main Library renovation.
  • How was the architectural applicant selected?
    • The Board used the Ohio Revised Code’s Qualifications-Based Selection Law to select the applicant.
    • Under this process, qualified proposals are ranked. The negotiations process begins with the top-ranked applicant.
  • Was there a tie?
    • The process did not end in a tie. Bostwick Design Partnership was the applicant with the highest ranking.
    • As with any process where applicants are vying for a substantial project, it could reasonably be expected that the finalists were all highly qualified, which would result in close rankings.
  • How did you ensure equal access to information?
    • A “non-communication period” was used to ensure fairness. An “inquiries” email box was set up for this purpose and one person was assigned the job of monitoring and responding
    • The intent of the non-communication period was to ensure that all applicants have access to the same information.
  • Could applicants speak directly with Trustees?
    • Applicants received this instruction:
      “Non-Communication Period – The period from February 8 – April 26, 2019, will constitute a non-communication period. Potential bidders may not approach individual members of the PLYMC Board of Trustees or Staff to discuss anything related to the RFQ or building process. All questions must be asked at the Pre-Proposal meeting or received in writing by the cutoff date for questions. Questions will be answered in writing and made available to all bidders. Violation of the non-communication period may be grounds for disqualification from bidding on this or future PLYMC projects.”
    • As was reported in the press, the Library did receive an inquiry from an applicant and a request to provide their letter to the Board of Trustees. Because this occurred during the non-communication period, the letter could not be shared at that time as it would considered unfair to other applicants under consideration. Library Attorney Denise Glinatsis Bayer noted: “The letter was sent to the Library’s ‘inquiries’ email in violation of the procedures and deadlines as set out in the Library’s RFQ, which may be grounds for disqualification from consideration. It was sent after the Building and Sites Committee had decided unanimously, during an open meeting, to proceed with the applicant ranked most qualified in accordance with Ohio’s Design Services Law.  Additionally, the Ohio Revised Code provides that the public authority (in this case, the Library) has the right to accept or reject any or all proposals in whole or in part.”

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News release on the Trustee Meeting of April 25, 2019, follows:

Board Also Votes for Renewal Levy

Library Trustees Choose Architect for Main Library Renovation Project

YOUNGSTOWN (April 25, 2019/For Immediate Release) – The Board of Trustees of the Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County, at a special meeting today, voted to accept the recommendation of the Building and Sites Committee to hire Bostwick Design Partnership [] of 2729 Prospect Ave., Cleveland, as architect for the Main Library renovation project. Bostwick will be working locally with RBF CoLab and Paul Hagman, collaborating architect restoration design, and with CT Consultants, civil engineer.

At an April 15 meeting, the Library Board’s Building and Sites Committee heard presentations from four applicants which were the highest ranked and most qualified. The committee then voted unanimously to recommend the highest-ranked applicant, Bostwick Design Partnership, for the position. Trustees used Qualification-Based Selection.

Dr. David Ritchie, Board President, said, “We recognize the significance of this building being a Carnegie library with over 100 years of history. We want to preserve the history and traditions of the past, while also providing for the services and technologies that are so much in demand today. Our goal is that the modifications to this landmark building will accomplish both.”

Main Library, an Andrew Carnegie library, opened in 1910. The building has undergone two major renovations in its 109 years. A renovation in 1954 removed the front stairs and period lamp posts from the face of the building on Wick Avenue. The second renovation, which included a large addition to the building and relocated the entrance to the side, off the parking lot, was dedicated in 1996.

Alex Benyo, chair of the Trustee Building and Sites Committee, said, “We were very impressed with the team that Bostwick Design Partnership put together. They have a wealth of experience and the entire team participated in an impressive presentation before the Building and Sites Committee. We are confident they have the ability to do a wonderful job with the renovation of our Main Library and create something the people of the Mahoning County will be very proud of.”

Richard L. Ortmeyer AIA, Bostwick Design Partnership Principal, said, “We are thrilled to collaborate with the library to reimagine the Reuben McMillan Free Library! Aimee Fifarek and the leadership team have done a fantastic job engaging the community to highlight needs, outline goals, and showcase possibilities – all of which built a solid foundation of support that the design process can build upon. This is a remarkable opportunity to restore the historical beauty of Main, update it to meet 21st century demands, and enable it to adapt over time to the changing needs of your community. And we are grateful to the Library’s Board of Trustees for their faith in our firm and for giving us this opportunity.”

Bostwick Design Partnership was founded in 1962. Libraries comprise one of the firm’s core areas of focus. Their Facebook page gives the organization’s philosophy: “We value design that emerges from collaboration. With our clients, consultants and experts, we design buildings to help students grow, patients to heal and professionals to excel. Through master planning and design of civic buildings, we help communities gain a stronger sense of identity and connectedness, which enhances community life.” [

The applicant’s proposal indicated: “We  understand  the  unique  needs  of  Main  Libraries,  and  how  to  reshape them to meet new demands: Bostwick Design Partnership completed a Master Plan for the Main Library at Cleveland Public Library, including design and implementation of three phases of proposed work. Improvements reimagined spaces  in  both  the historic 1925 Main Library and the 1997 Louis Stokes Wing. Additionally, our past collaborations with June Garcia, LLC, include a Master Plan for the Free Library of Philadelphia 1927 Parkway Central Library, plus detailed Programming and Conceptual Design for two individual phases of the Master Plan which are currently being implemented.  In 2013 this same team prepared a Master Plan and Concept Design for the Central Library of  Rochester and  Monroe County,  which  created  a  new  vision  for  the 1936 Rundel Memorial Library and its 1997 Bausch & Lomb Public Library expansion.”

This project to renovate Main Library has been a part of Library Strategic Plans for years. The Library operates debt-free and pays for construction without incurring new debt. Trustees have saved money for this construction over many years; there is currently $21 million designated for the renovation of Main Library. At this point in the planning, the Library can only estimate the cost.

The other applicants in the top four rankings were: HBM Architects LLC of Cleveland and Axiom Architects of Youngstown; Olsavsky Jaminet Architects of Youngstown and Schooley Caldwell of Columbus; and 4 Design Lab Architects, Boston, MA.

In other action, the Board voted on a resolution to ask the Mahoning County Commissioners to place on the November ballot a 2.4-mill five-year renewal operating levy. This renewal would replace the current 2.4-mill levy set to expire at the end of 2019.

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