Athmar Park Branch Library Bond Information

Overview

Athmar Park branch Library exterior

Address: 1055 South Tejon Street
Year opened: 1971
Last renovation: 1994
Square footage: 6,478 sq. ft.
Area population: 16,198
2016 visits: 87,425
2016 circulation: 109,438
2016 program attendance: 6,878
Status: Agency Critical System Need

Project Goals

  • Neighborhood needs experiential space to keep youth engaged and learning while not in school or work
  • Create new and expanded spaces for community gathering, technology access and programming
  • Address critical building components, including water infiltration issues, surveillance/security and fire alarm systems

History

The Athmar Park Branch Library originally opened in a storefront on South Raritan Street in 1963. The current location at West Mississippi Avenue and South Tejon was built in January 1971 as the Prince of Peace Church, designed by architect William C. Muchow. The library moved into this location in 1994 after a major remodel of the interior and exterior grounds.

The branch provides essential services to the people of Southwest Denver and remains a community hub where neighborhood residents come to access services and programs that provide enjoyment, enrich lives and strengthen this growing community. In 1993-1994, Gifford/Spurck/Reisbeck Architects completed the major remodel of the interior and exterior grounds.

Two public artworks can be found at the branch: outside the main entrance the Anemotive Tower/Windsong metal sculpture, by artist Robert Mangold and inside the library, Beatrix Potter Characters, painted by artist Jo Ehr.

The branch serves a diverse service area with Spanish and Vietnamese speakers representing a large percentage of customers; families also represent a large segment of customers. The branch’s collection and programming reflect the neighborhood’s diversity and address its needs and interests.

Community Input

The community conversation at Athmar Park was attended by 15 residents and included English, Spanish and Vietnamese speakers. Translators helped facilitate the conversation to ensure everyone’s voice was heard. Like other areas of town, Athmar Park residents wish for a safe, child-friendly community where the mix of different languages and cultures can be celebrated and nurtured.

Participants feel a disconnect between police and residents, a concern because of illegal activities in Hudson Park and cruising on Federal Boulevard. Residents of color feel profiled by the police and are unwilling to call authorities when help is needed. Non-English speaking residents also experience barriers to accessing services in the neighborhood.

Attendees urged library staff to consider adding additional hours and offering programs later in the day and evening for kids and teens to encourage them to be involved in safer, more productive activities.

The Plan (what needs to be done)

  • Increase square footage with an addition.
  • Address site issues including landscaping, sidewalks and parking lots.
  • Restore and repair exterior facade.
  • Redesign and install book return to the interior.
  • Explore redesign of entrance.
  • Create views into the community room from the entrance.
  • Improve heating, ventilation, air conditioning and temperature controls.
  • Replace existing boiler.
  • Update and refresh restroom partitions, lighting, vanity counters and flooring.
  • Meet current fire alarm codes.
  • Install surveillance and access control.
  • Update the main electrical distribution and branch circuit panel.
  • Improve data, power and communication systems.
  • Update ambient lighting.
  • Redesign the service point for current technology and service models.
  • Update the community room with lighting, power, data, technology and service counter.
  • Explore new arrangements for flexible learning spaces.
  • Refresh the entire children’s area.
  • Explore existing material shelving arrangement to obtain optimum customer use and convenience.
  • Redesign staff workroom, breakroom and office for better efficiency and lighting.
  • Explore new arrangements for public access computers and for mobile device use.
  • Provide new interior finishes including paint, carpet, tile and ceilings.
  • Provide new interior furniture and fixtures.
  • Comply with current accessibility requirements.
  • Provide new wayfinding, digital signage and code required signs.
  • Upgrade or create IT data and telecommunications closet.
  • Replace leaking windows and skylights.

A key component of a successful modern library requires creative design approaches for individuals and groups to learn, make and create. Changes in customer usage, technological advances and functionality also necessitate a renovation and addition. The design approach will maintain the architectural integrity of the existing branch.

Current State

The last major renovation of the facility occurred in the early 1990s and the interior shows wear and tear from over twenty years of high use. The interior was designed for library usage patterns popular nearly three decades ago. Most of the floor space is dedicated to fixed tall shelving housing large circulating collections, furniture for reading and study and large service desks designed for staff tasks related to receiving and checking out materials. Community room space and equipment are conducive primarily for presentations and group meeting purposes. Staff workspaces are not arranged efficiently, not ergonomically designed and do not take into consideration space for additional staff resulting from increased hours in the last several years. Public and staff restrooms are not accessibility compliant, do not address gender neutral accommodations and need refreshing.

Some of the building systems and components are outdated including electrical, lighting, and telecommunications, mechanical and heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. Security and card access systems need to be upgraded. Data, power and furniture are lacking for access to high speed broadband available for customers to connect to the internet using their mobile devices and public access computers. Compliance with current accessibility, building code, and sustainability requirements are an issue. Facility square footage is too small for service area population demand for services. Landscaping, parking lot and sidewalk issues have not been addressed with annual maintenance funds. The stone facade and windows need to be restored.

Future State

The role of a modern branch library has shifted to be an active community space. Floor plans are reconfigured, lowering shelving and increasing space for learning, making, creating, meeting and collaborating. Self-service options for checking out and ordering materials are conveniently located near staff service desks. The children’s area has a literacy packed play space where parents and staff work together to prepare young children to learn and read. A DIY lab space where all ages can gather to create, invent, and learn with 3D printers, software, electronics, craft and hardware supplies, tools and more is available. Easy, quick access to the internet is available throughout the library. Community and conference rooms are transformed into flexible multi-function spaces with the power, data, technology and sound systems to support out-of-school learning, adult classes, meetings, collaboration, cultural programming and community events. Staff workspaces are larger and efficiently organized. Public and staff restrooms are refreshed and meet access requirements. The facility is a safer place for customers and staff. Building systems and components are new and improved. All accessibility, building code and sustainability requirements are in compliance. Exterior facade and windows are restored and site issues are improved. The square footage is increased with an addition.

Project Risks

Without a renovation and addition, adequate services to meet community demand and impacts on out-of-school learning to address low third grade reading and high school graduation rates will be compromised. Due to the age of the building we should be prepared to encounter lead-based paint and asbestos containing materials. There may be an opportunity to improve storm water runoff at the site.

Risk Management

Partnering with Denver Environmental Health, Public Works and design professionals, specific testing of building components will occur at early stages.

Investment

Design: $264,494
Land Acquisition: $0
Construction: $2,076,837
Contingency: $74,296
Total: $2,415,627

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