A. On November 29, 2011, PPLD’s Board of Trustees voted to purchase a new facility for the expansion of library services. The decision came after an extensive period of review and planning related to the growth of the District, changes in library service delivery, and concerns about sustainability.
The building, located near the Chapel Hills Mall, has 112,883 square feet of space (a little less than twice the size of East Library), two loading docks, and excellent access to north-south and east-west traffic arteries.
The preliminary contract price for the facility is $3.74 million, approximately $33 per square foot.
This compares favorably with the estimated cost to construct a new library facility of about $250 per square foot. A building of this size would have cost the District $28 million to build. PPLD has a 90-day (cancelable) grace period to execute a due diligence evaluation of the property. This purchase will increase the District’s total square footage by almost 50 percent without any new debt to the residents of El Paso County.
The District is using fund balance and the current operating budget to fund the purchase of this facility. There is no debt, and no taxpayer dollars will be used for interest expense. There will be some renovation and repair costs, and the District has money set aside in the budget to cover such costs.
A. Much of the preliminary work on this initiative focused on community needs as identified through the sustainable facilities planning process. Numerous community needs will be addressed by this initiative:
A. Space and Services
The leadership of PPLD has spent two years reviewing facilities and identifying community needs, developing feasible and sustainable utilization parameters, and exploring trends and best practices. Plans for public use of the new space include:
|Function||Est. sq ft|
|Briargate Community Library relocation||35,000|
|Creative Computer Commons||35,000|
|Retail Space (Friends, Gift Shop, Café)||1,000-2,000|
Positions at the new facility, and in reorganized spaces at other libraries, will take on specialized roles in response to changing service delivery; special technological positions, family service positions, and business skills positions will be developed as well. Adapting in this way will help PPLD maintain its excellence in customer service while stretching its scope of service.
Repurposing of Existing Facilities
Space will be created in other District facilities as a result of this initiative: East Library and Penrose Library. Repurposing efforts include:
A. The facility is located at 1175 Chapel Hills Drive, on the corner of Chapel Hills Drive and Jamboree Drive. It has excellent access to both north-south and east-west arteries. It is also located on a public bus line, an important criterion for building selection.
A. PPLD will issue a Request for Proposal for each phase of the project. Selection from received proposals will be undertaken by both the PPLD Board of Trustees and Administrative staff.
A. There are several reasons that PPLD has been seeking additional space for expansion. Most importantly, there are geographic sections of the Library's service district that are underserved or not served by a library facility. The northern and eastern parts of the county are among the most heavily populated regions requiring improved library access. There are nearly 90,000 people living within a five-mile radius of the site chosen for this initiative. PPLD has not been able to meet the library needs of this population to date.
PPLD has seen increased utilization of its materials annually for decades, a trend that has actually grown at an even greater rate over the last 3 years. Public libraries trend toward greater use during periods of economic hardship, and PPLD has experienced double-digit growth in both checkouts from and visits to its locations. While the District is also feeling budgetary constraints, it recognizes this is an unprecedented opportunity to spread the reach of its service and help address growing need.
Finally, while there is an undeniable trend toward virtual materials resulting in the need for less physical shelf space, PPLD will need to maintain its collection of print materials. Public libraries play an important role in providing both virtual and traditional materials to their communities. While the proportions of the different collection formats will continue to change, they are both critical to library service in our community. In addition, the library plays other roles that require ever-increasing square footage. These include the provision of space for public computers, public meeting space, and programming space.
PPLD is also on the forefront of providing space for the creation of content, a trend that extends technology access for a wide variety of creative activities.
A. PPLD is a special taxing district, and as such is separate from the county and city governments in the region. PPLD has operated as a "pay as you go" entity for more than a decade. It will incur no debt in undertaking this project and currently maintains no debt. This does not mean that there is a surplus of funding; numerous initiatives have been postponed or put on hiatus in order to stretch resources for this project. Fundraising will also be critical to completing all work.
Expanding need for library service, an increasing population base, and the advent of new technologies require that PPLD grow in order to maintain the level of service our community expects. PPLD consistently ranks exceptionally high among public libraries in the country because of high utilization by its patrons and its commitment to providing relevant service in a cost-effective manner.
Library 21c is slated to open to the public in June 2014. Work will then begin on East and Penrose Libraries, with completion slated in 2015. Changes will then move out to community libraries throughout the District beginning 2016.