With the approval of the general construction contract, the Carlsbad City Council took another step Tuesday toward transforming two city libraries into modern spaces that will fulfill the community’s changing needs in an increasingly digital age.
Work is scheduled to begin first at the Georgina Cole Library on Carlsbad Village Drive this fall.
City staff selected Prava Construction Services to serve as the project’s general contractor, following a competitive bidding process. The firm will oversee construction activities related to the modernization and renovation of the libraries.
The total contract amount awarded for construction is approximately $5.5 million. The total approved budget for the renovation projects is approximately $11 million. Project costs, in addition to construction, include design, furniture and equipment, new technology and construction support. Some of these contracts have already been approved at Council and others will come to Council for approval in the next few months.
“Awarding this contract is an important milestone,” said City of Carlsbad Library & Cultural Arts Director Heather Pizzuto. “It was important to get the right team in place to ensure this project goes as smoothly as possible and to execute the planning and design work that has been done so far. Now, we have the opportunity to shift our focus to planning our schedule carefully so we have very little interruption in services.”
Construction will require temporary closures of the Cole Library and Carlsbad City Library on Dove Lane, however it will be completed in stages to ensure both libraries are not closed at the same time. The Library Learning Center will also be open throughout construction with expanded hours of operation.
Construction at Cole Library, located at 1250 Carlsbad Village Drive, is scheduled to begin this fall. At 48 years old, Cole Library is the oldest library in the city. Work will focus on maximizing the existing space and adding technology infrastructure to meet the needs of a 21st century population. Improvements include enhanced WiFi connectivity and power access, improved accessibility, more comfortable seating, collaborative study rooms, new carpet and paint, a new elevator and a fire sprinkler system.
The new study and meeting spaces will be equipped with enhanced technology and will be available by reservation or drop-in. A one-stop central service desk is also being added to better assist library patrons, and a real-time material check-in system will be implemented. Work is expected to be completed in early 2016.
The Carlsbad City Library, located at 1775 Dove Lane, is scheduled to begin construction in early 2016, upon the completion of Cole Library improvements. The work at Carlsbad City Library will take place in stages around the facility, and construction is scheduled to be complete in mid-2016. At 16 years old, the Carlsbad City Library has fewer maintenance issues than Cole Library. Improvements will focus on enhancing community gathering and include creating a “living room” feel, adding seating for patrons, revitalizing the courtyard and adding a new patio, and including a café with expanded food and drink options. Improved outdoor spaces will allow for new opportunities for outdoor library programs and events.
Individual and collaborative use will be enhanced with improved wireless and power access, four additional study rooms and a new tech lab to serve as a versatile learning center.
The Ruby G. Schulman Auditorium, located in the Carlsbad City Library complex, will be remodeled to improve accessibility and enhance visibility to the stage. The auditorium’s video production and other audio-visual equipment will be upgraded to digital technology.
Both libraries will add dedicated teen areas where young adults can gather to study or collaborate, and they will also include new Friends of the Library bookstores. Improvements were designed with flexibility in mind, allowing the libraries to adjust the use of space in response to evolving needs of users.
The city’s Library Learning Center, located at 3368 Eureka Place across from Holiday Park, will remain open during the entire construction period and will offer expanded hours, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday and Saturday, and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Library online services and resources will also remain available during construction. More information about specific programs and up to date schedules can be found at www.carlsbadlibrary.org.
The Carlsbad City Council approved funding for the library modernization projects in April and August 2014. The renovation plans, shaped by community input, are designed to improve the user experience for the more than 65,000 monthly visitors to city libraries.
Carlsbad libraries circulate 1.3 million books, DVDs and other materials every year, along with providing a wide range of digital resources. About 85 percent of city residents visit the library in person or online every year, and 57 percent use library services on a monthly basis.