A new main entrance (from Center Street) for our library

Is it feasible to rebuild and improve our current library?
The answer is YES.


On December 13, 2019, Abe Jayson and Katie Stuart of Jayson Architecture presented their proposal for the remodeling of our current Downtown Library. We met in the community room on the second floor of the library. There were about 100 of us—nearly every seat was taken.

The presentation was arranged by our City Council, and particularly by the Council's Library subcommitee, whose members are Mayor Justin Cummings, Vice-mayor Donna Meyers and Council member Sandy Brown, all three of whom were there to listen.

The presentation was video-taped. We encourage you to watch and listen. There are four parts; here are the links to them: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4. Their 52 slides, which are clearer than the video images of them, are also available and worth a look. They are here.

Jayson has done extensive work for our City and County, especially regarding libraries. He has recently facilitated the design of five other libraries: Branciforte, Garfield Park, La Selva Beach, Boulder Creek and Live Oak.

The pair of them—Jayson and Stuart—have analyzed, with their six expert consultants, the condition of the existing building, and have determined which parts of it need to be replaced and which parts of it are in good condition and can be reused.

This analysis led them to propose the removal of the one-story perimeter parts of the building, leaving the seismically sound two-story structure. This will result in a smaller footprint and make better use of the building's space that is for public use. The foundation and the available utilities are in good condition and can be retained.

They proposed two designs for the remodeling of the structure, each one to satisfy a particular budgetary constraint. The first—the “BASE design”—could be provided for $27.2 million, slightly over the City's budgeted amount of $27 million. The second—the “BASE + ALTERNATES design”—which would provide features desired by the City, could be provided for an amount of $34.3 million. Here is one of their slides that illustrates some of the features for each of the two designs:

slide 24

The features marked with green dots are provided by the BASE design, while those marked with red dots are included in the ALTERNATES.

One of the alternate features would provide increased natural light in the interior of the library, provided by clerestory windows in the roof above the center of the building—item 7 in the figure above.

The interior of the library

Following the formal portion of the presentation there was opportunity for questions. Library Director Susan Nemitz expressed a few concerns. Among them were concerns that a second elevator would be needed (a single elevator is inadequate), and that additional restroom facilities would be needed. These concerns, and some additional concerns are addressed by the ALTERNATES design.

For a related opinion column, check out Stephen Kessler's contribution of January 4, 2020. It's here.