It’s been a while since I’ve blogged and I’ll try not to be contrite about it. I’ve discovered I’m a “happy times’ blogger, that’s all. Much has happened since my last installment. I’ll try to catch you up, if you have not been following developments of the Sunnyvale Library of the Future on your own. It’s Ok if you haven’t; the purpose of this blog is to give you the shortcut, the fast and fun facts – all in keeping with “happy times” blogging, right?
At the April 24th meeting of the City Council, there was a lively discussion about the Sunnyvale Library of the Future. Check out the minutes of the meeting for the details. The summary is this: the Council selected as their preferred scenario to have the new main library placed in the Civic Center at the corner of Olive and Charles, next door to the current library. There was concern expressed about the fate of the community garden which is behind the temporary buildings and parking lot on the site of the Sunnyvale Office Center. The community garden was established a year ago through a 5-year lease to community members from the City on land the City had purchased for possible expansion of the library. The Council voted to have the architects attempt to creatively incorporate the community garden concept in the design of the library.
Council gave direction for the library to be anywhere between 133,500 square feet to 143,500 square feet. The cost of the project, based on the study, would be $108M and additional on-going operational costs would be $1.2M. Remodeling and expanding the existing building for continued use as a library would have cost even more, $7M more! The current building could be converted to office use.
The Council also would like for the new library to be a LEED platinum project or equivalent, meaning that green design and sustainability will be extremely important factors. For now, the Council has decided to forego a branch library and reconsider the branch option once the new main library is online. Staff will look for alternatives in service delivery to underserved areas in the meantime.
It is gratifying to see the project move forward to this point. Of course, the ultimate question is how does this project get paid for? Starting tonight, a community opinion survey will measure Sunnyvale residents’ interest in paying for the capital costs and the additional ongoing operating costs of the new library through a possible general obligation bond and/or community facilities district. Sunnyvale is very concerned about and supportive of educational opportunities and cultural enrichment. The results will tell what the current priorities are for the community. We will deliver the results of the community opinion survey and the finalized conceptual design of the new library to Council on June 12, 2007.
And, there is some very good news! Remember the young people that helped spread the word about the Sunnyvale Library of the Future and increased teen involvement in the project? Yes, I am speaking of Rohit, Max and Sunny. Well, they were among the winners in the Future Business Leaders of America state-wide competition. Homestead High School’s teams carried away 42 of the 73 top places, a remarkable record. And our team from the LOF project received 2nd place for the community service component of the competition. Rohit, Max and Sunny, along with other Homestead FBLA teammates will be going to the national competition. This project has benefited so much from their participation. We wish them the very best – happy times for all!