Update on the Library Renovation Project
If this brisk fall weather has you longing to curl up with a good book, you may be wondering, what’s next on the new Takoma Park Library project? Are we getting close to a Council vote?
City staff and RRMM Architects are working through the multitude of design decisions needed to arrive at a final construction estimate for the new library. We have entered the Design Development Phase of the project – see the diagram below – now that we completed the schematic design on the library exterior. As you may recall, RRMM Architects presented three schematic options for the library exterior to City Council on July 8. The second option, the flat roof and simple sunshades design emerged as the clear winner after public discussion. It is projected to be the least costly of the three options.
RRMM Architects then put final touches on the Option 2 exterior and site plan using City Council feedback and public survey comments. Key changes requested by City Council included a pedestrian route from Philadelphia Avenue to the front entrance, the addition of brick sections in the glass façade, and signage on the side of the building facing Philadelphia Avenue. You can view a flyover of the new exterior here. The flyover shows the full view of the proposed library’s architectural integration with the Community Center beginning at Maple Avenue and Grant Avenue.
In addition to exterior design development, the RRMM construction team is working with City staff on interior design elements. They completed a Building Code analysis and met with Public Works staff to go over details of the mechanical systems in August. Their geotechnical engineers drilled borings to determine technical specifications for the building foundation. Library and Information Technology staff have been providing feedback on items such as the size of the server room, the Computer and Mac lab layouts, and access to emergency exits.
The Design Development Phase of the project is a pivotal juncture for making decisions on the green aspects of the design, particularly the energy usage model. City Council directed RRMM to explore green design elements to make the project as sustainable as possible, given the site limitations and existing budget. RRMM is currently filling out the LEED scorecard, which is a checklist of the design elements required for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building certification. The more points checked off on the scorecard, the higher the green building rating (LEED Platinum being the highest). A number of LEED points are still being researched by RRMM as to feasibility, costs, and trade-offs. Some LEED points are easily achievable; others would add cost to the project and require direction from City Council.
After earlier discussions with staff, including the City’s Sustainability Manager Gina Mathias, RRMM Architects and Deputy City Manager Jessica Clarke opened discussions with the Committee on the Environment (COE) on September 24th to receive additional ideas and input from members of the community. The COE viewed the unfinished LEED scorecard and most recent iteration of the building design. In the next few weeks, City staff will review LEED elements line by line with RRMM. City staff will take the COE’s comments from September 24th into account as we look to reach the highest LEED certification possible. Once RRMM has completed the LEED scoring and energy usage model, we will circulate for further public comments.
The RRMM principal working on our Library design is a LEED Accredited Professional and well versed in IGCC compliance. Sustainability has been one of the hallmarks of RRMM designs; RRMM has overseen 21 projects that were certified LEED Gold or higher. We are confident that with their guidance and community input, we can arrive at a new library design that fits within our budget while achieving the high sustainability objectives our Council and community expect.
Once the Design Development Phase is completed, we will be able to get a baseline construction cost estimate, plus cost-saving options as requested by City Council. We expect to be ready to present the final design, construction cost, and LEED Scorecard, along with public comments, to the incoming City Council in late November.
If you have any questions, you can contact Deputy City Manager Jessica Clarke at firstname.lastname@example.org.