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Home > Your Library > Master Plan

Library Master Plan History and Updates

Master Plan and Library Program documents are available in Library Planning Reports.

The following summary (in reverse chronological order) outlines activities that have taken place since 2006 in regard to the Library Master Plan for Facilities.


On May 13, the City Council approved the first phase of a potential four phase agreement with GLMV Architecture. Phase 1 includes a week-long charrette (June 9-13) with Council members and the general public to:

  • validate the modified building program;
  • assess the adequacy and efficiency of the current Central Library facility to provide spaces outlined in the building program;
  • compare the building program with current trends in the library industry;
  • identify the scope and use of technology of the building in relation to program requirements;
  • discuss and identify other items or components that impact use, function and cost of the library; and
  • develop a refined concept floor plan, exterior massing models and site plans with estimated project costs.

Work has since progressed into schematic design and preliminary design development. This phase is expected to be completed by November.


Seeking to find a way to reconcile the Central Library building program with the Capital Improvement Program project budget, a supplemental contract with HBM Architects was established in 2012. The purpose of the contract was to test the feasibility of modifying the building program into a phased construction project. Some preliminary schematic design work was required to test work flows and efficiencies. The outcome of the study was a revised building program with a smaller initial footprint, a reduction from three to two in the number of planned building levels, a realignment of space adjacencies and the identification of multiple options for targeted building expansion.  The plan was completed in March, 2013 and presented to the Library Board of Directors on April 16, 2013 and the City Council during a workshop scheduled for April 23, 2013. After additional presentations to each of the District Advisory Boards, on July 9, 2013 the City Council authorized release of a request for qualifications for a two phased contract for building design. The first phase of the contract will complete schematic drawings and some design development.


In 2011, the City of Wichita initiated a study of the current Central Library to better determine opportunities and likely costs to remodel and expand the current building. The study was completed by LawKingdon Architect. The report reaffirmed that although it would be possible to expand the building, the costs would be greater and the operating efficiencies less than what would be realized by new construction. At the same time, challenges of building access would not be resolved.


In May 2009, HB+M|Providence was chosen to help the Library create a building program for the proposed new Central Library. During the programming stage, the vision for functionality of the facility is identified and refined. After gathering information and public input, HB+M|Providence presented a program with a space needs analysis to the Library. After preparing budget information, the program was finalized. On Feb. 16, 2010, the Library Board approved the library building program. The plan was shared with the Wichita City Council during a workshop session on February 23, 2010. While Council members were complimentary of the programming process and the quality of the building program, they were equally concerned about the projected costs which exceeded the $30,000,000 Capital Improvement Program allocation for a new library.


In 2007, the Wichita Public Library Board of Directors unanimously selected a preferred location for a new Central Library. The announcement came as the result of several months of effort on the part of the Library Board's Planning and Facilities Committee to identify potential properties in the downtown core that meet the Library's needs. The site, commonly referred to as the former Watkins Steel plant, is at the southwest corner of West Second Street and McLean Boulevard. The location keeps the Library close to users in the core of Wichita as well as the cultural venues along the river corridor. It meets a new central location's requirements as detailed in the Master Plan, but offers many additional benefits to the Library and its customers. The City Council initiated the project and bonding resolution in November 2007 and acquired the Watkins parcel in 2008.


On August 15, 2006, the Library Board of Directors voted to adopt a new master plan for library facilities. This plan is the continuation of 40 years of master planning by the Library. 

The key components of our vision for Wichita Public Library facilities are as follows:

  • Create a new 135,000 square foot Central Library in the core area of the City (by 2011)
  • Replace the current Westlink branch with a 25,000 square foot regional library in the general area of the present location, incorporating the current Orchard branch into the new facility (by 2013)
  • Create a new 7,500 square foot neighborhood branch library for Southeast Wichita in the general area of Pawnee and George Washington Boulevard, relocating and combining the Planeview and Linwood branches (by 2016)
  • Create a new 25,000 square foot regional library in far East or Northeast Wichita, relocating and combining the current Comotara and Rockwell branches (between 2016 and 2021)
  • Expand and/or remodel the remaining facilities in the library system as need and use might dictate (by 2021)

The Library Board has also affirmed these four principles:

  • No current facilities should be closed until replacement service is in place
  • Selection of sites for any new facilities should be coordinated with Wichita Transit to ensure best access for residents that rely on transit services
  • Library staff are encouraged to work with other City departments to find new ways to extend access to library services beyond current and proposed library facilities
  • New facilities should be located on or near commonly recognized arterial or collector streets in order to provide easier visibility and access for users

This plan gives our library system the facilities required to sustain library service to all current residents of our community and the ability to expand service as the City continues to grow over the next fifteen years. 

More than 700 citizen comments about planning options were received by the Library Board and were instrumental in the refinements contained in the plan adopted by the Library Board and endorsed by the City Council on September 13, 2006.

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Last update: 7/10/2014
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