Olsson Associates


The new Joplin, Missouri, public library: a bigger and environmentally friendly center for its patrons

Friday, August 18, 2017

Linda Van Hoosen, Communications

If you go to 20th Street and Connecticut Avenue in Joplin, Missouri, you will be at the center of the city. You will also be at the center of knowledge, standing at the front door of the new and improved public library. A $20 million grant awarded by the United States Economic Development Administration helped pay for the new library. The location qualified for federal funding following the destructive 2011 tornado. The City of Joplin hired then Tri-State Engineering, which was acquired by Olsson Associates during the project, to provide site/civil services.

The old library, located about two miles away from the new one, was smaller and not accessible to all patrons under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The new facility offers wider aisles, technology tools, art displays, and meeting spaces indoors and out.    

“It was a very well-planned project,” said Clayton Cristy, team leader for Olsson’s Joplin General Civil team. “We worked alongside an architect and landscape architect while maintaining a degree of independence on the project.”

Clayton said his team assisted with the public involvement on the front end of the project. His team also provided an initial grading plan, minor site remediation, all utilities for the site, and lighting.

One of the challenges was the size of the building kept growing on a fixed site,” Clayton said. “We had to find room for stormwater retention, so we ended up putting it under the parking lot.”

“The city wanted to use green solutions where it was practical, so we incorporated permeable paving and bio swales in the parking lot,” he said. “We also included a trail, wider sidewalks, and a plan for future connectivity to adjacent property that the city thinks will likely be developed.”

The new library opened to the public on May 30.

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