Ross-Broadway Branch Library Bond Updates

Overview

Ross-Broadway Branch Library exterior

Address: 33 E. Bayaud Avenue
Year opened: 1951
Last renovation: 1993
Square footage: 4,500 sq. ft.
Area population: 15,476
2016 visits: 78,909
2016 circulation: 183,930
2016 program attendance: 2,813
Status: Agency Critical System Need

Project Goals

  • Create new and expanded spaces that meet the changing demographics of the neighborhood—from meeting rooms to learning and technology areas
  • Restore and renovate interior and exterior building components to protect this historic South Broadway gem
  • As nearby neighborhoods continue to diversify, renovations are needed to serve separate and distinct customers from young urban professionals to long-term retirees

History

One of the four Ross branch libraries, the Ross-Broadway Branch Library opened in 1951 when city librarian John Eastlick and Davis W. Moore of the Library Commission presented the new branch to Mayor Quigg Newton and the City of Denver. It was the first of four libraries financed by the Frederick R. Ross Trust. The original construction cost topped out at $73,500 and was designed by revered Denver architect Victor Hornbein. The building has since become an architectural attraction, bringing people to the space who appreciate the mid-century modern design and handcrafted details. A 1993 renovation by Gifford/Spurk/Reisbeck Architects updated the interior and addressed infrastructure needs.

The branch serves a diverse service area with young single renters as a large percentage of customers. Families owning homes are also represented. This population uses both the branch and the library’s virtual services. Collection and programs reflect the interests and needs of the diverse neighborhood.

Community Input

People who participated in this session want a fun, safe, inclusive and prosperous neighborhood where people want to stay and can afford to stay. Diversity of choice regarding transportation, dining and entertainment are desirable. Transportation was a main topic of conversation, especially pedestrian and bike safety. They believe we need to focus on educating drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians for safety measures; increase visibility of signs; and repair untraversable sidewalks

Other concerns were related to the immense growth in the past few years. Traffic, housing costs and homelessness were discussed. Participants suggested that one of the things keeping the neighborhood from making progress is business interests over neighborhood interests, such as building projects being approved with no thought regarding the impacts on transportation and other things that impact the community.

The group believes local schools, neighborhood associations, the Broadway Merchant’s Association and the library are trustworthy and in a position to take action. There have been positive changes over the years, such as the new experimental bike lanes on Broadway and more one-way streets.

The Plan (what needs to be done)

  • Increase square footage with an addition.
  • Address site issues including landscaping, sidewalks and parking lots and exterior lighting.
  • Explore redesign of entrances.
  • Redesign and install book return to the interior.
  • Improve heating, ventilation, air conditioning and temperature controls; reduce air noise and install natural gas lines to rooftop units.
  • 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.
  • Add a community room with lighting, power, data, service counter and technology.
  • 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, break room and office for better efficiency and better lighting.
  • Explore new arrangements for public access computers and access 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.
  • Explore or create IT data and telecommunications closet.
  • Recondition or replace window components.

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 20 years of high use. The interior was designed for library usage patterns popular a couple of decades ago. Most of the floor space is dedicated to fixed shelving housing circulating collections, furniture for reading and study and large service desks designed for staff tasks related to receiving and checking out materials. There is no community room.

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, don’t 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. Facility square footage is too small for the service area population’s 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 shrinking shelving and increased 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 equipment, software, electronics, craft 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 work spaces 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 for early learning, intergenerational family programing and access to technology will be compromised. Due to the age of the building, the library 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.

Library staff and local historians are particularly interested in preserving the historic significance of the building, helping stave off wear and tear while highlighting the unique features and craftsmanship that give the building its unique charm.

Risk Management

Partnering with Denver Environmental Health, Public Works and design professionals, specific testing of building components will occur at early stages. 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 low high school graduation rates will not be achieved.

Investment

Design: $262,641
Land Acquisition: $0
Construction: $2,048,653
Contingency: $73,775
Total: $2,385,069

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