The Winthrop Town Council has approved a preliminary design for the new public library that includes a revised plan for public restrooms.
The approved design calls for three separate, individual gender-neutral bathrooms, one of which will be ADA accessible and include a changing table. The other two single bathrooms will also have changing tables.
The design originally called for four private, separate gender-neutral bathrooms that shared an area with sinks. A second proposal was for separate men’s and women’s bathrooms, each with two stalls (one of them ADA accessible) and a changing table.
Friends of the Winthrop Public Library (FOWL), the nonprofit group that is raising funds to build the library, earlier responded to questions raised about the original design by offering the second alternative. After further discussions with the project architects, Johnston Architects and Prentiss Balance Wickline, and Mayor Sally Ranzau, the architects came up with the third design.
FOWL is raising private funds to build the new library. A $2 million state grant has been allocated for the project, currently estimated to cost $5 million. FOWL is now in the facilities planning and design stages of the project, which will be built on a .81-acre parcel property purchased by the Town of Winthrop at the intersection of White Avenue and Norfolk Road. FOWL subsequently acquired private funds to purchase an adjacent .92-acre parcel to provide more room for parking and better traffic flow.
The completed building will be turned over to the town. Construction is projected to begin in June this year with opening scheduled for February 2022.
The 7,300-square-foot building will include community space that will be maintained by the town.
No additional taxes will be required to build or operate the new library. Town residents currently pay a library district assessment which goes to the North Central Regional Library (NCRL) system, of which the Winthrop library is a part. NCRL will provide all the furnishing and equipment for the new building, as well as maintenance.