City breaks ground on newest library

7,500-square-foot facility will have room for expansion
By: 
CARY HINES, Assistant editor

Photo by Bette Sharpe/Glendale Daily Planet
Glendale Community Services Department Director Stephanie Small, left, Councilmembers Ian Hugh and Lauren Tolmachoff, Mayor Jerry Weiers and Councilmembers Joyce Clark and Bart Turner throw dirt during the ceremonial groundbreaking for the city’s newest library June 27 at Heroes Regional Park.

A library that has been 20 years in the making is finally coming to fruition.
Although construction began June 11 on the yet-to-be-named library at Heroes Regional Park on the corner of Bethany Home Road and 83rd Avenue, Glendale held an official groundbreaking ceremony June 27.
“I insisted we do something to recognize that this library is coming,” Glendale Councilmember Joyce Clark said.
Clark, who serves the Yucca District, of which the library is in, has been advocating for the library for 20 years, she said.
“I’m going to celebrate and cry at the same time,” she said. “Celebrate because it’s finally happening and cry because it’s taken so long.”
She said the library first appeared in the city’s Capital Improvement Program more than 20 years ago, but the prior City Council “decided that there were other priorities other than putting in a library to satisfy the residents in west and south Glendale.”
The library was originally scheduled for completion in 2004, she said.
“Part of the reason why it has never been built was due to the economic recession, but I would be remiss if I didn’t also say that politics played a part. I’m not embarrassed to say that,” she said. “So I’m pleased to say that finally we are going to provide Yucca residents with a modern library that will serve generations to come.”
The library will initially be about 7,500 square feet with room for expansion.
“I insisted that the building be expandable,” Clark said.
The city’s other three libraries are considerably larger, with Velma Teague at 25,000 square feet, Foothills at 35,000 and the Main Library at 65,000.
“So they’re all going to be much bigger than this initial phase one,” she said. “But over time, we will expand this as well, so at least it’s comparable to Foothills at about 35,000 square feet.”
The library will serve a population of about 400,000, Clark said.
“Because it isn’t just the residents of west and south Glendale, but if you go down the street a mile, you’re in Phoenix, so you know, obviously, Phoenix residents are going to use it,” she said. “If you go a mile to the west, you’re on the border of Peoria, and Peoria residents are going to be using it, as well.”
The initial cost for the library will be about $3.75 million, $61,600 of which comes from the State Grants in Aid and from Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records through a federal Library Services and Technology Act grant.
“We have grants for books, we have grants for the children’s area,” Clark said. “All of this helps to cover the cost.”
She said a lot of the cost is wrapped up in technology.
“We’re going to have state-of-the-art technology, we’re going to have a lot of computer stations for the kids, we’re going to have a special craft/reading area for the kids, we’re going to have a meeting room. Do you realize in this district there’s no place to meet unless you rent out a school space?” she said.
The library will have large expanses of glass and indoor/outdoor learning spaces, said Mike Schmitt, principal architect with Dick and Fritsche Design Group.
“I think you’ll find, if you look at the plans and so forth that we have here and when you see the library in the spring, you’ll see how that all comes together,” he said. “The whole idea is to engage the park and make the library a part of the park and actually energize the park and make the rest of it come to fruition.”
The library is set to be complete by March 2019, and fully equipped, operational and open to the public that spring.
It will have children’s and “teens-only” patio areas, WiFi, a dividable multi-purpose programming room and a study room.
“It’s going to be a tiny library, but a full-service library,” Clark said.
Clark said libraries are just as relevant now as they have ever been, citing the 95.5 million people who attended library programs around the country in 2013.
“That’s more than all the people who attended major league baseball or major league basketball games combined, so tell me libraries aren’t still important to communities,” she said. “They most certainly are.”
Mayor Jerry Weiers shared her sentiment, saying the United States has more public libraries than Starbucks, and that according to the Office for Research and Statistics and the American Library Association, 16,536 libraries are in the U.S.
“Today, we’re making that 16,537,” he said.
The library will be a true brick-and-mortar building, although original proposals called for a modular.
“At one point, they even flirted with a kiosk, can you imagine?” Clark said. “The modular and the kiosk quite frankly were an insult to the community, like we’re not worthy of anything more than that, and there was a lot of pushback from residents. They didn’t want either one of those.”
Weiers praised the current council for turning down the original proposals and Clark for insisting on a brick-and-mortar building.
“Councilmember Clark wanted to make sure that whatever was done here was done correctly and something that we can be proud of,” Weiers said.
The project is long overdue, he said, but added, “Glendale’s keeping its promises, maybe a little too slow, but just the same, we’re keeping our promises and I look forward to the ribbon cutting.”

The Glendale Star

The Glendale Star
7122 N. 59th Ave.
Glendale, AZ 85301-2436
Ph: (623) 842-6000
Fax: (623) 842-6013
Terms of Service

Email Us

Facebook

Peoria Times

Peoria Times
7122 N. 59th Ave
Glendale, AZ 85301-2436
Ph: (623) 842-6000
Fax: (623) 842-6013

Terms of Service

Email Us

Facebook

Please Login for Premium Content