|Proposed design of renewed Maple Acre Library|
(prior to committee's 18 December 2015 revisions)
Council and the Library Board recognized years ago that the aged Maple Acre Library branch required renewal; we struck a joint committee back in 2008 to make recommendations. While that committee looked at many ideas – building a joint Library / Firehall (prior to the new Fires Station #2), constructing a new library either in Centennial Park or at the former Fire Station (Welland Road at Canboro) – it got a bit bogged down.
Then, despite an increasing Town grant and best efforts by the Library Board, the Library posted a +$60,000 year-end deficit for 2012. The Town retained a consulting firm in early-2013 to conduct facilities and operations reviews.
The facilities review recommended that the Maple Acre branch become a kiosk-type operation, instead of a full-service branch. This recommendation was rejected by the Board and met the ire of the community-at-large.
So, in late-2013 to early-2014, Council initiated combined Council, Board, Friends of Maple Acre Library and community creative problem solving sessions. The challenge – how might we provide the most appropriate library services in Fenwick – led to an April 2014 resolution of Council to “continue library services at the Maple Acre Branch.”
That spring, Council struck a tripartite working group to recommend a “state of the art, ideal, and resilient library” in Fenwick. In September, the group proposed renovating and adding on to the original 1919 Maple Acre building with a “learning commons”-type library with “rentable, flexible, multi-purpose, open space” and an area for the community’s “significant historic records.” Council accepted the report and approved a $1 million for the design / build of the facility in our 2015 Capital Budget.
The proposed design includes a quiet / study room, a lounge area facing Canboro Road, a technology centre, an historic record workroom, and children’s activity / multipurpose rooms that can be used / rented separately. The exterior endeavours to follow the Town’s design guidelines for Civic Landmark Buildings (like Libraries): “Where additions or external alterations are proposed, the design should be sympathetic and subordinate to the heritage aspects of the buildings while clearly distinguishing between that which is new and old.” (S4.7, P35).
Now, we are ready for and want your thoughts and feedback on the design. I hope you can join us next Wednesday!
UPDATE: Wednesday, 20 January 2016
The Maple Acre Advisory Committee met on 20 January 2016 and approved a motion to proceed with one of the designs presented by the architects at the open house last week. The preferred option was “Option A” with 72% of those choosing design A over design B. (57 said A, 19 said B, 3 said either A or B.)
We received great feedback – more than 130 comments/ sheets/emails – from the community over a very short time. We definitely appreciate that feedback!
Here's a chart of the feedback we received:
As you will note from the above table, a large number of people (64), did not like either option for the exterior.
The Committee concluded that since 23% more respondents (79 vs. 64) liked either Option A or Option B, a majority liked the proposed designs. Then, the Committee considered responses between either Option A or Option B. Since 72% of those preferred Option A, the committee recommended moving ahead with Option A.
The committee considered the matter extensively. Some of those committee comments include:
- Most respondents really liked the design of the interior of the Library;
- The design dramatically improves and highlights the historic 1919 building (which was a key goal of earlier community engagement);
- While many respondents wanted a pitched roof, most of the buildings in downtown Fenwick have either a flat roof or a false-front that hides the roof, thereby making the design appear similar as this design;
- A pitched roof would require:
- a dramatic redesign (which would cost additional funds and that Council has already opposed);
- a significant delay in the start of construction;
- that the ceiling would have to be dramatically reduced, and / or the main floor would have to be lowered (which would disallow accessible use of the 1919 portion of the building);
- The $1,000,000 budget does not allow for a brick façade – something that others wanted;
- The design meets the Town’s Downtown Design Guidelines;
The approved design follows up on the vision of last summer’s Maple Acre Working Group – which recommended a “state of the art, ideal, and resilient library” in Downtown Fenwick.
That Working Group proposed renovating and adding on to the original 1919 Maple Acre building with a “learning commons”-type library with “rentable, flexible, multi-purpose, open space” and an area for the community’s “significant historic records.” The proposed design includes a quiet / study room, a lounge area facing Canboro Road, a technology centre, an historic record workroom, and children’s activity / multipurpose rooms that can be used / rented separately.
I hope this helps clear up any questions you might have. Should you have other questions, please contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.