November 2013, the majority of citizens approved the use of $23.2 million in bond proceeds to build a new main library, and renovate the existing library or build a new branch library.
With additional space, the library will expand its core services to children, teens and adults, as well as technology and more types of meeting spaces and program rooms.
The proposed branch could include the same services as the main branch, with the exception of genealogy and local history.
When Is The New Library Going To Be Built?
January 2014, $1.5 million was issued for land, design & engineering for the main facility. Once the location is secured, it could take about three years to complete the project.
Why Does It Take So Long?
The City has a looong list of projects to complete not just the library! Parks, fires stations, and the training facility are also on the to-do list. This schedule actually gives us time to start the design and building planning. Just because you don’t see dirt turning, doesn’t mean nothing is happening. Our partners are working on the library project like the planning department assisting with site selection; transportation working on traffic studies; finance department working on the budget, etc.
Where Is The New Library Going To Be?
We are in the process of selecting the site for the new main library.
The recommendation from the master plan consultants included a site of about six acres for the main facility and 2.3 acres for the branch facility. The main facility is expected to be about 60,000 square feet. The current size of the existing building is 43,000 sq. feet. The branch facility is expected to be about 10,000 sq. ft.
Six acres is a lot of space. You can’t just pick anywhere to build the new library. There are specific criteria that we need to follow to insure we find the best possible location for our growing community.
Lisa Padilla has created an easy to follow how-to, “Site Selection for Libraries” that explains the top 14 site evaluation criteria:
- Geography – Evaluate proximity to other civic services, schools and transit.
- Land Acquisition Cost – Compare initial cost, long-term lease cost or other arrangement.
- Soil/Structure Implications – Assess soils reports and anticipated structural footings.
- Infrastructure – Estimate extent of new or modified infrastructure needs (water, power, tel/data, gas, vaults, utility reroutes)
- Topography – Gage extent of site grading needed to prepare site.
- Project approvals – Compare environmental, design and city approvals process. Site Fit – Check library building program on the site’s buildable area.
- Parking – Check parking requirements based on local codes and recommendations. Factor in costs for structure if needed.
- Site Amenities – Access opportunities for accommodating gardens and gathering places.
- Future Expansion – Check if site can accommodate future
- Developmental Restrictions – Evaluate any developmental limits that affect buildable area and envelope (maximum size, height, setbacks, dedications, easements).
- Ease of Access – Assess inherent ease of pedestrian, vehicular, bicycle and service access to the site.
- Site Features – Natural views to/from site, wind and sun patterns, site’s visibility to the general public.
- Other Considerations – Unique factors based on local context and politics.
August 2014, the City Council narrowed down the list of sites to:
- “Heritage House” U.S. 79 at Heritage Center Circle
- Land adjacent to Clay Madsen Recreation Center at A.W. Grimes Blvd. & Gattis School Rd.
- Land at Sunrise Road and Old Settlers Boulevard
February 2015, City Council announced their unanimous decision to wait on selecting the site for the new library.
Message from Brooks Bennett, Assistant City Manager, “The Master Plan identified a few premier locations, and the Council has opted to see if one of those locations become available in the not-too-distant future. This being said, the property by the Clay Madsen Recreation Center meets our needs and has been secured for City use, so it is a solid, viable option if a premier location does not come available.
Money for the new Library was slated for the second issuance, which would take place in 2017 at the soonest, so opting to not rush into a location gives the Council the ability to secure a premier location, as identified in the Master Plan, if it becomes available.”
What Is Going To Happen To The Current Building? Can It Be Used As A Branch?
Depending on where and when the new main library is built, the City will determine the best use of the current building.
We are very fond of our historic building and location on Main Street. We have not completely ruled out using a portion of the current building as a branch. Based on feedback from the community, there is strong support to locate the main library or a branch as close to “downtown” as possible. BUT — Building a new facility on an adequate amount of land would allow for resolving the parking, book drop, accessibility, infrastructure and space issues that we face at the current location.
What Opportunities Will We Have For Citizen Input?
As of right now, we don’t have any forums or focus groups scheduled yet. When we do, the schedule will be posted on the website, Facebook, utility bill newsletter, eNewsletters, etc. You are always welcome to send the director an email or call her. Contact information is below.
I Have Other Questions, Who Do I Contact?
Michelle Cervantes is the library director. You may reach her at 512-218-7010 or email. As new information is received, she will provide updates.