Big doings in Denver with the opening on March 12 of the new Green Valley Ranch (GVR) Branch of Denver Public Library (DPL). Designed by Humphries Poli Architects and built by Alliance Construction Services, the 26,000 square foot, $11.4 million facility is the first of three DPL branch projects to be funded through the 2007 Better Denver Bond Program. GVR has 50 public computers, Wi-Fi accessibility, a lounge with a fireplace and expansive views, a 100-seat community room, and a comfy children’s area. With its proximity to the Denver International Airport, the library also houses thanks to United Airline’s Training Facility an airplane cockpit to send visitors’ imaginations soaring. In accordance with Greenprint Denver initiatives, a plan to introduce green features into all city operations, GVR was designed with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification in mind. Its sustainable elements include the installation of low-flow water fixtures, solar tubes, and evaporative cooling systems and the use of low-emission products and recycled and regional materials.
The Williams Branch of Central Arkansas Library System, Little Rock, reopened on May 9 after a five-month refurbishment. Originally established in 1997, the 8500 square foot facility now features new flooring and furniture, an updated mechanical system, new lighting fixtures, and a new circulation desk and self-check station. Rearranging the elements in the children’s section and the reference area has made those spaces more user-friendly. The garden area also has been refreshed. The remodel cost $675,000 from the library’s general fund. The library was named in honor of Susan Cowan Williams (1910–94), an African American schoolteacher who in 1942 launched a class-action lawsuit against the Little Rock School District for basing its pay scales on race.
Planning ahead, design work has begun for the new Central Library of Austin Public Library, TX, to break ground in 2013 for a 2015 opening. Under the lead of Boston’s Shepley Bulfinch and San Antonio’s Lake|Flato Architects, the new library will encompass 185,000–200,000 square feet, nearly doubling the existing 1979 110,000 square foot John Henry Faulk Central Library. Among the building’s features will be a variety of 17 meeting spaces. The price tag is expected to run to $120 million.
Compiled by Bette-Lee Fox