In March, we shared with you the exciting news that we would be able to replace more of our aging facilities with new construction. In this update, we'd like to share some highlights of the new Main Library and some details of how we were able to strengthen our entire facilities plan.
The Dayton Metro Main Library is our library district's centerpiece. We are committed to building a downtown destination that will be an architectural showcase with first-class amenities that exceed our patrons' highest expectations. We will offer expanded services and programming that will include:
- Public space in the new Main Library will increase dramatically from about 28,000 square feet to more than 100,000 square feet with just a minor increase in its current footprint.
- Dedicated areas for Adults, Teens and Children – including Quiet Reading, a Teen Homework Center and activity space, and a Children's Story and Program Room
- More than 90 patron computers, 24 short-term internet stations to search the collections, a 30-seat computer training lab, and WiFi throughout
- Free underground parking for about 150 cars
- A 300-seat theater for library and community programs
- Six rooms seating 30 to 70 people for meetings and gatherings
- 24 rooms for group study and tutoring
- 5,000 square feet of space to share with nonprofit organizations for testing innovative services or providing longer-term programs
- A coffee bar/café
Our original plan for re-creating our system of libraries was reflected in a Concept Budget, based on the best information we had before we "looked under the hood" at each facility. Once voters approved the bond issue, we were able to do a comprehensive evaluation of our buildings, examining them at a new level of detail.
As with any construction project of this magnitude, the plan has evolved. Most significant, our architects and engineers concluded that expanding and remodeling some of our existing neighborhood libraries amounted to throwing good money after bad.
Some of the buildings have structural deficiencies; some have outlived their life expectancy, given, for example, new requirements for energy efficiency. Others cannot be cost-effectively configured to meet the different programming needs. In each case, a cost-benefit analysis dictated that we opt to build a new facility over trying to "make do" with obsolete structures.
Following the comprehensive analysis, the Dayton Design Collaborative created a Program Budget, reallocating the cost estimates to reflect the specific programming needs of each of the 16 neighborhood branches and Main.
In the Program Budget, we identified $21 million that we could use to improve our facilities master plan, without reducing services at the Main Library downtown. In fact, we discovered that by moving the parking to the lower levels and reducing the original floor plan for the Main Library by only 12 percent – or 12,000 square feet – we could add nearly 50,000 square feet of new construction in the neighborhood libraries. That is a four-fold return on this modest adjustment.
How did we free up dollars to address deficiencies in some of the neighborhood libraries?
- Construction costs for the Main Library were reduced by $9.3 million by the relocation of backroom functions and the modest reduction in square footage.
- Construction costs for the parking were reduced by $3.3 million when the analysis showed the two lower levels of the Main library could be converted to provide significant underground parking.
- An additional $2.7 million was saved in site development costs largely because a separate site was no longer needed for a parking structure.
- Nearly $2.7 million was eliminated from the construction escalation estimates because they were initially calculated using an across-the-board inflationary figure and then were recalculated based on the specific project timeline.
- The balance is reflected in refined estimates for furniture, furnishings, equipment and technology ($3 million) and a net reduction in the revised contingencies calculation and owners' costs ($1 million).
How will the money be spent?
- $14.4 million was reallocated to the 16 neighborhood libraries, including toward the construction of six new branches originally slated for renovation and to meet the programming needs at all the neighborhood facilities, including the six new buildings in the City of Dayton identified as a top priority in the initial plan.
- $6.7 million was allocated to create a new offsite Outreach and Operations Center, cutting the cost per square foot for backroom functions by half by moving them out of the Main Library. In addition, moving these functions elsewhere will make the new Main Library interior more functional and the exterior more attractive for patrons and our neighbors because we won't need features such as a loading dock at Main.
Our goal of providing Montgomery County voters a system of 21st century libraries that will last for generations has not changed. The Main Library remains our hub and will be a stunning asset for Downtown and the Dayton region.