Eisenhower Public Library
Renovating the Eisenhower Public Library / Harwood HeightsIL
Can the construction of a library use post-consumer and recycled materials?

Mortenson was selected as the construction manager to build the new Eisenhower Public Library in Harwood Heights, Illinois. The library is a state-of-the-art 47,000 square foot facility. The design utilized modern materials and married it with traditional detailing, including a steel structure with a brick, cast stone, and aluminum window skin. The project converted an unusable, contaminated brownfield site that was formerly used for manufacturing, into a beautiful LEED® Silver Certified library. The project was built with a large percentage of recycled, post-consumer, and post-industrial materials, which help reduce the use of non-renewable resources. In addition, the project procured regional materials (less than 500 miles) reducing the amount of energy required to transport materials to the site, while infusing the local economy.

Engaging the community, from the project’s Groundbreaking Ceremony to the Grand Opening weekend, was a priority to the Eisenhower Public Library and all other project stakeholders. During the Groundbreaking Ceremony, young children participated in the ceremonial ‘silver shovel’ the first dig. Once the construction process began, the project team ensured the Harwood Heights community was as involved as possible. The team hosted the Boy Scout tours, gave the local newspapers regular project tours and progress updates. Construction updates were included in the library’s seasonal newsletter.

Everyone from the community was invited to partake in the library’s Grand Opening Celebration. A human chain was formed connecting the old library to the new facility. The chain link of library patrons passed the final book to the new facility. Also, during the Grand Opening, a time capsule was placed inside one of the library walls for future patrons to open. The time capsule includes an of list patron wishes and several other items pertinent to 2008 and the Village of Harwood Heights.

Now that the library is open, it continues to have an impact on the community by offering multiple programs for kids and adults such as Battle of the Books, Kids World Club, and Pen and Ink Writers Group.

The primary goal of this project was to deliver a LEED® Silver Certified Library that utilized a high level of sustainable building products and practices, ensuring the community of Harwood Heights generations of use and enjoyment. LEED® features incorporated into the building include:

  • The team recycled over 75% of the construction waste produced by this project, this equates to diverting over 150 tons of materials from landfills.
  • Healthy and comfortable interior environment - Low VOC materials were used extensively and daylight and views were provided to over   90% of all occupied areas.
  • The roofing membrane is reflective, thus reducing the heat absorption in the building.
  • A large percentage of recycled, post-consumer, and post-industrial materials were used to build this project, which helps reduce the use of non-renewable resources.
  • The project procured regional building materials, reducing the amount of energy required to transport materials to the site while infusing the local economy.
  • High-efficiency mechanical systems - The building’s air handling unit included an energy recovery wheel as a means to greatly reduce the facility’s energy usage and carbon footprint.
  • The library’s location is ideal for the utilization of many mass transit options for employees and patrons.

Facts And Figures

Eisenhower Library

Completed January 2008


47,000 square feet

LEED® Silver Certified

Delivery Methods

Construction Manager at Risk

The Team