APTOS—Plans are moving forward with the Aptos Branch Library project to raze the existing 8,000-square-foot building near the corner of State Park and Soquel drives, and build a 12,400-square-foot replacement.
While the wrecking ball is not expected to swing loose until next summer, strides have been made in the planning phase, which drew strong input and fundraising from the community, said Susan M. Nemitz, director of Santa Cruz Public Libraries.
“After a year-long community design process, the Santa Cruz Public Libraries are thrilled to begin the construction documents and permitting process for the new Aptos Branch Library,” Nemitz said. “The project will allow us to expand services for children and adults and add collaborative teens space, community programming rooms, quiet study and outdoor reading areas. The building will serve as a vibrant community learning center for years to come.”
Demolishing the existing library will allow Santa Cruz Public Libraries to develop a facility that is not only larger but that also features a more efficient layout, Nemitz said. Nemitz also said that the teardown and rebuild would be less expensive than renovating the existing building and adding to it.
Santa Cruz County currently has a $12.3 million design-build contract for both the architect and contractor, Nemitz said. Funding for the project comes from Measure S, County Library Funds and The Leonard Trust.
Plans for the new library also include: Teen Space, Maker Space, Group Study areas, Outdoor Program, Community Terrace, Teen’s Patio, Adult’s Reading Room, Children’s Garden and Staff Garden.
Efforts to align with green building standards will include solar panels and a helix windmill, among other features, that will make it a zero net energy building, Nemitz said.
While the library currently has 69 parking spaces, plans call to add four new proposed spots to the list including an ADA space. The entire parking lot will be repaired and slurry sealed. Charging stations for electric vehicles are also in the works.
Library services will be available to Aptos residents during construction at the La Selva Beach and Capitola Branches starting in March, well before tear down.
“It’s going to be so beautiful,” Nemitz said. “The community has been so involved and has been generously donating.”