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:
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?
How will the money be spent?
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.