BRENTWOOD -- As the first major step toward building a new library downtown, city leaders approved the final conceptual design of the future facility Tuesday night. But additional planning and funding are needed before construction can begin.
The proposed 20,000-square-foot library building would feature a secured outdoor reading garden, community room, a spacious children's area, story time room and natural elements similar to those found at the Brentwood Civic Center across the street. The building would include a second story with a mezzanine that opens to the floor below.
Brentwood Mayor Bob Taylor said the current library is located in an ideal spot at 104 Oak St. near many downtown facilities. Under the new plans, the existing library would be torn down and a new branch would be built for about $10 million in the same location.
"This library is used from the time it opens until the time it closes," Taylor said. "It really makes the whole downtown whole. This is a good thing for our city and for our community."
The city had budgeted only $2.3 million for the library project because it was originally going to be a remodel and expansion of the existing facility. City staff and the Friends of the Brentwood Library have formed a Brentwood Library Foundation, and its board of directors will soon launch a fundraising campaign for the project, according to Brentwood management analyst Gail Leech.
"The foundation has not established a target number yet, as they have not conducted a feasibility study or begun their capital campaign," she said. "Whatever they raise just means less money that the city has to fund."
Taylor noted that libraries serve all ages of residents and spark imagination and knowledge. The new library is being planned with ample space to serve Brentwood's projected population buildout of 75,000 residents.
"We will get the funding somehow. It will take a lot of hard work and people," Taylor said.
City Councilman Steve Barr said the city produced these conceptual design plans so that community members could see what the final building might look like and provide support for the future fundraising.
Other key building details are plenty of windows to utilize natural light; a community room that can be used after library hours for events; solar panels; and dense grasses and California poppies planted in the reading garden.
"It is important for us to have a library that is unique," Barr said. "It is a huge expense. We are taking baby steps."
Leech said the building's roofs will be sloped to collect rain water that will be used as a water, educational and artistic feature. Another notable option is a small cafe.
Vice Mayor Joel Bryant said this modern design makes the library a gathering place and treasured community resource. The city will continue to support the project as an advisory body on funding possibilities and marketing and promotion with the Brentwood Library Foundation.
"When you start thinking about what the library means to the community, it is a core structure that brings value to every single resident," Bryant said. "It would be a very pleasant community center point."
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