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A two-story, 118,000-square-foot public library in St. Cloud, Minn., garnered national recognition for W. Gohman Construction Co., based in St. Joseph, Minn., with a Grand Award in the NAHB National Commercial Builders Council's 2011 Awards of Excellence for light commercial projects.
“Being recognized as the Grand Award winner by the selection committee is fantastic,” said Mike Gohman, president of the construction company.
“Having an independent group of peers recognize our hard work was a great way to finish this project,” he said, noting that it is the largest undertaking his company has completed to date.
Serving families with young children and teens, as well as students at nearby local colleges, the Great River Regional Library was built on the site of a former car dealership on Highway 23, known as the Gateway to St. Cloud’s downtown.
Yet the library is also close to scenic Lake George and across from a major high school, and it has itself become a highly visible city landmark.
Support for the eye-catching new library was enthusiastic throughout the community, with excitement building as it neared its opening date, Gohman said.
For older patrons, there are study spaces, a language learning center and a computer lab with assistive technology on four computer stations.
The site provides a place for teens and includes three fully equipped meeting rooms.
The library’s modern self-checkout stations are perfect for busy families on the go.
The bottom line is that the number of library cards issued and books checked out at the new library have been significantly outpacing those at the old facility it replaced, Gohman said.
The well-equipped interior of the building is complemented by the exterior’s bold design — a granite and copper facade with large windows commanding beautiful views of the surrounding countryside.
Recycled materials from the existing site and building were used in the project, as were locally sourced and sustainable materials.
A vegetated roof system appears on the lower roof, and the site includes a rain garden and subsurface storm water retention basins.
Energy-efficient plumbing and light features are found throughout the building, and both of its floors emit radiant heating that provides a comfortable warm floor surface.
“Not only is the library something to look at, but it’s serving more patrons in more ways than ever before, illustrating the ability of buildings to enrich the community,” said Carl Harris, 2010 chairman of the Commercial Builders Council.
W. Gohman Construction Co. is a member of the Commercial Builders Council and the Central Minnesota Builders Association.
The company also received a 2011 Award of Excellence Project of the Year award for its Cub World Medieval Castle in St. Joseph, Minn.
For information on commercial building resources available from NAHB, email Lisa Leone, or call her at 800-368-5242 x8455.