PBC Approves Minority Business Enterprise Architectural Firm to Complete the Whitney Young Branch Library Renovation and Expansion

Bryant Payne, Public Building Commission, (312) 742-0878
PBC Executive Director Davis joined 6th Ward Alderman Roderick Sawyer and Darlene Tribue of the Park Manor Neighbors Community Organization at the Whitney Young Branch Library to discuss plans for the library’s renovation and addition.

The Board of Commissioners of the Public Building Commission of Chicago (PBC) appointed Johnson & Lee, Ltd, a full-service Chicago-based MBE architectural firm, to serve as the Architect of Record (AOR) for the Whitney Young Branch Library Renovation and Expansion Project in the Chatham neighborhood.

This appointment aligns with Mayor Emanuel and the Chicago Public Library’s initiative to reimagine the ways library patrons access information, inspire learning and engage communities. With the Board’s action today, the PBC will transfer schematic designs to Johnson & Lee to successfully carry the project through the various phases of construction.

“The PBC identified the Whitney Young Branch Library Renovation and Expansion project as the prime opportunity to introduce architectural firms to a new client,” Felicia S. Davis, Executive Director, PBC said. “With the appointment of Johnson & Lee, we anticipate that we will deliver another highly successful project to the benefit of the community and further the mission of the Chicago Public Library.”

The PBC assembled an evaluation committee which included Darlene Tribue, President of Park Manor Neighbors Community Council, to assess firms with the demonstrated ability to execute AOR services for the project. The Evaluation Committee assessed firms based on their proposed project team, project approach and their demonstrated commitment to MBE/WBE participation in the execution of their services.

“Reinvesting in and revitalizing the Whitney Young Library is critical not only to each constituent in the area, but also to the region,” Darlene Tribue, President of Park Manor Neighbors Community Council said. “This project is as an opportunity to develop a striking architectural, community specific design that will play a critical role in revitalizing the South Side.”

Located at 7901 S. King Drive, the renovation plans include a 3,000 plus square foot expansion. The facility will feature an Early Learning center for children; Youmedia digital lab for teens; additional seating; meeting and study spaces; expanded computer access and ADA accessibility throughout the building. In addition, the building will be retrofit for energy efficient mechanical systems and improved lighting.

“Historically, the Chatham and Park Manor neighborhoods has been the heart of Chicago’s African-American middle class,” Frank Christopher Lee, Principal of Johnson & Lee, said. “It is an honor to be able to design a community-oriented library in this neighborhood that will provide residents with a much needed public gathering space geared toward inclusive community activities and technology-based learning.”


About Chicago Public Library: Since 1873, Chicago Public Library (CPL) has encouraged lifelong learning by welcoming all people and offering equal access to information, entertainment and knowledge through innovative services and programs, as well as cutting-edge technology. Through its 80 locations, the Library provides free access to a rich collection of materials, both physical and digital, and presents the highest quality author discussions, exhibits and programs for children, teens and adults. CPL received the Social Innovator Award from Chicago Innovation Awards; won a National Medal for Library Services from the Institute for Museum and Library Services; was named the first ever winner of the National Summer Learning Association’s Founder’s Award in recognition of its Summer Learning Challenge; and was ranked number one in the U.S., and third in the world by an international study of major urban libraries conducted by the Heinrich Heine University Dusseldorf in Germany. For more information, please call (312) 747-4050 or visit chipublib.org.

About the Public Building Commission: The Public Building Commission of Chicago manages construction and renovation projects for the City of Chicago and its sister agencies. Mayor Rahm Emanuel serves as the PBC’s chairman. Felicia S. Davis serves as the Executive Director of the PBC. Additional information about the PBC and its projects can be found at www.pbcchicago.com. You can also follow the Public Building Commission of Chicago on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Flickr.