Library Design-Build Team Shares Career Experience with Students

​Future professionals got a taste of what it’s like to be a career architect, engineer and construction worker in a virtual presentation about the Salem Public Library renovation earlier this spring.

The event was part of Oregon Connections “Bridging Concepts to Careers” series, designed to deliver the real world to the classroom. It included students from around the nation. Aaron Kimsey, City Project Manager for the renovation, led the presentation.

See the video.

Aaron oversees design, construction, scope and budget on the project on behalf of the City. He told viewers about the significant upgrades needed for the 50-year-old building, for a variety of purposes:

  • Earthquake safety
  • Accessibility
  • Critical system upgrades (mechanical, electrical, plumbing)
  • Improved use of space
  • More open, flexible spaces 

He also talked about the design-build process, in which the general contractor and design team are hired as a unit at the beginning of the project. 

“It lets us deliver a complex project with a great design on time and on budget,” Aaron said.

Also featured were members of the design team, including:

  • Daniel Childs, Project Architect for Hacker Architects
  • Jack McCutcheon, Structural Engineer for KPFF
  • Allyson (Ally) Lowe, Project Engineer for Howard S. Wright Construction, our general contractor
  • Kory Ray, Project Superintendent for Howard S. Wright Construction

The Library renovation has been almost four years in the making, starting with a bond approved by voters in 2017 to pay for the project. Almost a year was devoted to selecting the design-build team. Design, including collecting input from community members, Library staff and other City staff, continued through most of 2019. Construction began in early spring 2020 and is due to be complete in June of this year.

Daniel talked about some of the reorganization included in the design and based on the information gathered. That input led to:

  • Glass windows surrounding the children’s space
  • Adding windows to reading nooks for more natural light
  • Moving the main staircase to the top floor to allow for better traffic flow
  • A new entry plaza featuring a large white oak and benches

Jack talked about the five shear walls and metal plates that act to strengthen the building in the event of an earthquake.

Kory and Ally provided a tour of the work in progress. Ally also talked about her role in ensuring that specifications made by engineers and architects are carried out during construction. 

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