This building houses a library, community center, day care, and a senior center.

Local citizens were an important part of the design process. A committee of 35 diverse residents collaborated in a series of workshops which initially focused on the site and user needs. Further work included "dream drawings" to supply architectural imagery.

The complex site affected the design. Watercourse setbacks, solar orientation, parking, adjacent residential and industrial neighborhoods, access and identity considerations were all heeded. Laid out on an east-west axis, the building opens to south light and averts the cold with long roofs. The smallest component, the Senior Center, is closest to the road and sized to match residential neighbors. The day care center follows, and the large library is at the rear. This stepped plan gives all three parts equal recognition from the street.

The building was designed like a steel framed pole barn with space under the sloping roof used for several mechanical attics (the water table prohibited a basement). Ceilings also rise and fall as needed, making space grand where appropriate - at the library entry and reading room, at the seniors main hall, and at the shared meeting room. Other places are cozy - a senior fireplace niche and drop-in center, a day care aedicula, and the children's library. Here two sets of "Three Bears" easy chairs preside. The smallest is child sized, the middle is a normal chair, and the largest makes even adults look childlike.

The building is designed to harmonize with its small village surroundings and still evoke pride in the citizenry. Bell patterns were stenciled at entries and in the library, remindful of the town's heritage as "Belltown" (it is the original home of our nation's bell manufacturing). The family of chimney, ventilator and bell towers spire high as civic markers, while windows and dormers give a friendly cadence to the building's substantial mass. The long porch, anchored at the street by the bell tower entry, ties the complex together. Overall, this building has the stature of an important public structure, its varying functions drawing community members together.

Photography © Norman McGrath, Steve Rosenthal