Eugene Field Branch Library Bond Updates

Overview

Eugene Field Branch Library exterior

Address: 810 South University Boulevard
Year opened: 1970
Last renovation: 1994
Square footage: 10,500 sq. ft.
Area population: 178,628
2016 visits: 112,537
2016 circulation: 303,551
2016 program attendance: 12,893
Status: Agency Critical System Need

Project Goals

  • Redesign the children’s area to create a literacy rich play space where parents and young children come together to learn and read
  • This modest-sized branch needs updating and reconfiguration to reduce crowding and provide spaces for learning, making and meeting
  • Reconfigure technology areas to better reflect the ways customers access and use computers and online resources

History

The Eugene Field Branch Library, named after American writer Eugene Field, was dedicated in March 1970 and has been an important hub of activity for the University Park and Bonnie Brae neighborhoods ever since. It was one of the first branch libraries to provide film and record loans as well as fine art rental. The library was designed by Denver architect Oluf N. Nielsen and underwent a major renovation in 1993-94.

The branch serves an affluent community comprised of singles, married couples without children and families with children across a range of ages. This population uses both the branch and the library’s virtual services. The branch’s collection and programs reflect the interests and needs of the diverse neighborhood.

Community Input

Library staff conducted community engagement meetings at the Eugene Field Branch Library in August 2016. Local residents shared that they want a community in which residents have common values, help each other and work together to achieve a safe and healthy neighborhood. They are also concerned that neighbors don’t know each other well enough to discuss problems or develop solutions to neighborhood concerns. Attendees noted concerns about crime, traffic and disruptive construction activity in the area, which has seen a tremendous number of renovations and scrapes to existing single-family homes. The group wishes for more community get-togethers where residents can talk, exchange information and find ways to facilitate change. The Eugene Field Branch Library looks like a perfect fit to help facilitate some of these items for the neighborhood.

The Plan (what needs to be done)

  • Address site issues including parking, landscaping, sidewalks and exterior lighting.
  • Reconfigure and repave the parking lot.
  • Create an exterior storage area.
  • Explore opportunities to relocate exterior book return.
  • Redesign the entrance and display area.
  • Create views into the community room from the entrance corridor.
  • Improve heating, ventilation, air conditioning and temperature controls and reduce air noise.
  • 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.
  • Remove soffit and ceiling above the service point.
  • Update the community room with lighting, power, data, technology and enlarge the service counter
  • Install projector and sound system in community room.
  • 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 better 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.
  • Update or create IT data and telecommunications closet.

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. The design approach will maintain the architectural integrity of the existing branch.

Current State

The last major renovation of the branch occurred in the early 1990s and the interior shows wear and tear from over twenty years of high use. The interior is designed for library usage patterns popular a few decades ago and does not meet the needs of one of the busiest branches in the system. Most of the floor space is dedicated to fixed tall shelving which house 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 new 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, 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. Landscaping, parking lot and sidewalk issues have not been addressed with annual maintenance funds.

Future State

The role of a modern branch library has shifted to be an active community space. Floor plans are reconfigured 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 space functioning as a makerspace and digital and/or traditional media space where all ages can gather to create and learn 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 is restored and site issues are improved.

Project Risks

Without a renovation adequate services to meet community demand and impacts for early learning, adult and family programming and access to technology will be compromise. Due to the age of the building we should be prepared to encounter lead-based paint and asbestos containing materials.

Risk Management

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

Investment

Design: $166,295
Land Acquisition: $0
Construction: $1,355,827
Contingency: $46,712
Total: $1,568,834

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