News & Opinion

Planning a New Building

by on August 12, 2014

For those of us in public libraries, our primary goal is to provide our patrons with excellent service. Sometimes this means opening a new location or providing new services to keep up with the pace of our world. When you’re spending a good deal of taxpayer money on a large investment like a new facility, you want to make sure you do extensive planning to ensure the best possible results.

In 2012, Pikes Peak Library District (PPLD), Colorado Springs, Colo., purchased a building on the northern side of the city that had been vacant for many years. Part of the reason for purchasing this specific location was because of the great price that the District was able to negotiate. The main reason, however, had to do with population growth, innovation in library service, and public need.1

Before purchasing, we had contracted with outside vendors to do in depth analysis on our patron base, usage patterns, and scenarios for growth over the next several years.2 This information proved to be highly valuable during the planning process. Beyond the data, planning sessions were necessary both with patrons and staff. Several different focus groups were held targeting community, education-related, and business-related groups. Planning sessions were also held with staff teams under the direction of the architects that were selected after going through a request for proposal and interview process.3 Using a process of Integrated Building Design, members from the various segments of the project were able to be involved from the beginning. This method also assisted with greater communication among the groups.4

To provide for funding for such a large project, we had a combination of savings and fundraising. Seventy percent of the funds were from money that had been saved over the years. Thirty percent is actively being raised by the PPLD Foundation to reimburse the reserve funds that were used. The best part is that the project was able to be completed with no debt.5

To take a 100,000+ square foot building that had been vacant for many years, recycle it, and create an exciting new library with new services—like makerspaces and a gaming room for adults—was a several year project with hard work put in by many staff. However, the payoff of saving and working with our patrons has proved to be well worth the effort.

References

  1. Fowler, Dolores. Interview by Becca Cruz. Executive Officer, PPLD Foundation (July 16, 2014).
  2. Coulter, Carolyn. Email to Becca Cruz. Information Technology and Virtual Services Officer (July 15, 2014).
  3. Fowler, Dolores. Interview by Becca Cruz. Executive Officer, PPLD Foundation (July 16, 2014).
  4. Coulter, Carolyn. Email to Becca Cruz. Information Technology and Virtual Services Officer (July 15, 2014)
  5. Fowler, Dolores. Interview by Becca Cruz. Executive Officer, PPLD Foundation (July 16, 2014).

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2 comments

  1. David says:

    Aug 18, 2014

    What a great, unconventional example of establishing a new library. Using a building that already exists seems like an eco-friendly and economically friendly strategy.

    Thanks for the post!

  2. Roger Edmond says:

    Oct 31, 2014

    Sounds like a big plan!! Purchasing an old building for a public library building is a good idea, and pleasing thing is all the essential analysis has been taken care off before the purchase deal. I think it’s very important for such purpose. 100,000+ square foot space is long and reconstructing such huge space will be a tough job, wishing all the best for the working team, hopefully upon completion of such library, people will be able to acknowledge a great place for knowledge resources. Thanks.

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