Brentwood Library moving to Community Center

by Kyle Szymanski Staff Writer, Brentwood Press
Updated Jul 18, 2016
 
 
Patrons of the Brentwood Library won’t have far to travel to pick up their next read while the facility is being rebuilt - the Brentwood City Council recently approved plans to temporarily move the library across the street, to the community center’s arts and crafts room, during the construction.

“This will allow the library to continue current programs and stay downtown, allow patrons to watch the construction while new library is going up and allow money to go back into the cost of construction,” said Project Manager Gail Leech.

The move, which will begin in October and last roughly two years, will cost $40,000, or $760,000 less than what was budgeted for the temporary location. The leftover funds will be put toward the $12 million facility.

Building plans call for demolishing the current library at 104 Oak St., as well as the city-owned empty buildings at 118 and 120 Oak St., and replacing them with a new, 20,000-square-foot structure that includes a partial second story, outdoor courtyard, standalone community room and cafeĢ. Several other temporary locations were explored, including vacant storefronts downtown and in surrounding areas, and Liberty High School, but the consensus was to move across the street for the cost savings.

The 1,200- to 1,300-square-foot location will accommodate a few computers, some books, a couple of sta members and programs, said Liz Fuller, a senior community library manager.

“We are pretty happy,” said Fuller, who noted some temporary library locations are smaller than Brentwood’s and accommodate only one sta member.

However, council members and Fuller are concerned about the operating hours. Plans are to keep the temporary location open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. The library currently is open until 8 p.m., and also on Saturday.

The library typically uses the community center for some programs and events after hours and on the weekends, which could pose security concerns if hosted while the library is open, Leech said.

“It’s not a deal-breaker, but I think there is a lot of interest to have it open on Saturday,” said Council Member Steve Barr.

Leech said the city would continue to look for a compromise for the reduced operating hours. Possible solutions include barricading the library from other parts of the center and operating on Saturday mornings prior to scheduled events.

“It’s a concern,” Fuller said. “This community is a commuter community, so that would leave a lot of people out of the picture. If there is any way to come up with a solution, we will do whatever we can to work with the city to make that happen.”

Council Member Gene Clare and Mayor Bob Taylor said the short-term inconvenience would be worth the long-term gain of a new library. Both expressed support for the location, since the extra $760,000 can be used on the rebuild.

“I think this is an exciting time for not only the library and their supporters, but all our citizens in Brentwood,” Clare said. “We have one opportunity, so we want to make sure we do it right.”

The design of the library is being reworked at the request of the Brentwood Planning Commission. Leech said she expects the redesign to be before the planning commission on Aug. 2. If the commission approves the plan, it will be forwarded to the city council for approval.


 

Updated July 21, 2016