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Crucial Decisions Ahead: Library Renovation

Library board members are at a crossroad in making vital decisions about the redesign of a renovated library building and it is time for members of the public to get more informed and involved in the process.
On Thursday, July 16, there will be a special meeting of the board of trustees to discuss design and cost options of the three plans that have been submitted by Dattner Architects. On Monday, July 20, the building committee will meet with the architect to further discuss design and cost options. Both meetings will be held at 7:30 p.m. at the Main library and the public is urged to attend both meetings.

In a nutshell, the first option is an internal redesign utilizing the existing space. It would entail a gutting of the building, not a razing, and would upgrade all systems to be more energy efficient and be brought up to today’s standards and codes. “If the old building were rebuilt today…this is what it would be like,” said Daniel Heuberger, lead architect.
The second option, the one favored by the architects, takes into account the programmatic needs of the library as expressed by the staff and the public input so far. This plan would expand the building by 16,000 square feet. (For those who have followed the library story for the past decade, this expansion would mirror the mid-size expansion proposal that was turned down by a prior board in favor of a larger expansion of 23,000 square feet.)
Mr. Heuberger has concluded that the current mezzanine arrangement that is supported by book stacks is extremely limiting to the future flexibility of library space.
The conceptual design for the second option would contain the circulation department, the reference department, the audio/visual department and the adult collection on the main floor. A greatly expanded children’s department of 9,531 square feet, public meeting rooms, Levels, young adult department and technical services would comprise the lower level.
A mezzanine level, supported by columns, would contain administrative office, study rooms, and quiet rooms under the second option.
The third option would shave some space from the expansion by 3,000 square feet. Under that design, the main floor would contain the adult collection, administrative offices, the circulation and reference departments. The lower level would contain the children’s department, technical services, public meeting rooms, audio/visual department and Levels. The mezzanine floor would contain the young adults department and a multi-purpose room.
All of the options have been designed to take advantage of the lovely views from the library and to create a light, airy look inside.
In addition to making choices about the design layouts, decisions must be made about certain energy alternatives.
For example, should a “green roof” be added that would protect the roofing and recapture water? Should the heating and air-conditioning system be water-cooled air conditioning units with a gas fired boiler or an open loop geothermal heat pump system? Should radiant slabs be added on the lower level?
The board is expecting to receive two independent estimates for all of the proposals, one from an estimating company through Dattner Architects and the other from its construction management firm.
It has been the stated desire of the board to reconstruct an environmentally sensitive building, perhaps a LEED certified building. Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) is a certification program under the United States Green Building Council that requires documentation and acquisition of points that build toward levels of excellence in energy savings, sustainability and the “health” of a building. Mr. Heuberger noted that it is possible to have a “green” building without LEED certification. While LEED certification adds prestige to a completed building, it also adds a cost as well, up to $2 to $3 a square foot in professional costs, mainly for the necessary documentation. That, too, is another decision that lies ahead.
The library board is also counting on the Water Pollution Control District, next door, leasing it some land for additional parking spaces, but at a sewer advisory meeting last week, Mayor of Saddle Rock Leonard Samansky warned the commissioners of the wastewater treatment district that it would be unwise for them to commit to the deal since their needs for additional space are unsettled. He said, “If you go ahead with that, I’ll rescind parking on Bayview Avenue.”