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North Boulder Branch Library

The need for a full-service library in north Boulder has long been identified as a goal for the community and is a primary goal of the 2018 Library Master Plan.

Preliminary planning for the new north Boulder branch library began in 2018. Outreach to the community began in August 2018 and continued into the design phase in 2019. Construction is anticipated to begin in late 2020 or early 2021. The new north Boulder branch library is expected to open in 2022.

Latest News/Updates

  • The public art selection process for the new library has concluded and the artist has been selected.  More information about the art selection process and the artists can be found by visiting the project page from the Office of Arts and Culture.
  • The design team submitted for Site Review, as part of the Land Review Process, on July 29, 2019.  View the submitted plans and enter ‘LUR2019-00043’ in the upper right-hand field a choose the case from the drop-down menu a the documents will be listed on the left-hand side of the screen.
  • A public hearing with the Planning Board on the Site Review submission will be in either December 2019 or January 2020.

Project Planning

Phase 1: Site Selection and Programming — Completed

Phase one consists of site analysis, community engagement, and preliminary planning of what the library spaces and services might include. The final site selection was a decision internal to the city and was dependent on site selection criteria, economics and long-term interests of the library and the city.  The Site Recommendation Report was presented to the Library Commission on November 7. The library will be moving forward with the city-owned parcel on the east side of Broadway at 4540 Broadway Street, Boulder, CO 80304.

Phase 2: Building and Site Design

Phase two consists of continued community outreach, site design, cost estimation and bidding.

This phase was kicked off with a city subject matter expert meeting in November 2018. The project team submitted the first step in the regulatory review process, a Concept Plan Review to Planning and Development Services. The Concept Plan Review document includes a number of drawings that illustrate the architect’s vision. Technical questions were also submitted. These will assist the WORKac with preparation for a full site review process.

Concept Plan Review was submitted January 18 to the Planning and Development Services, which will provide an opportunity to “test” development options before investing in the creation of detailed plans and engineering. See the Concept Plan Review Application.

The project team was advised by Planning and Development Services that both concept and site review processes are required. Combined these processes will take a minimum of 18 months to complete.

The project must also be designed to meet the city’s climate commitment goals.

Phase 3: Construction

2020 – 2021

Next Steps

Timing of the following next steps is subject to change.

February 2019

  • Submit concept plan review to Planning and Development Services.

March 2019

  • A series of community engagement activities focused on gathering input on the design and programmatic plan for both the interior and exterior of the library

April 2019

  • A public hearing on the Concept Plan with the Planning Board.

May 2019

  • Community check-in summarizing the input received during the March community engagement sessions and its incorporation into the design.
  • Check-in with the Library Commission on community input, project scope, and budget.
  • Site review submission to Planning and Development Services with Planning Board public hearings to follow. City Council call-up period will follow approval of site review by the Planning Board. Process anticipated taking the remainder of 2019.
  • Canyon Gallery exhibition of WORKac architecture.

The Architect

The City of Boulder signed a contract with Work Architecture Company (WORKac) on Aug. 1, 2018, for architecture consulting services associated with the first phase of work of a proposed new branch library in north Boulder. The contract with WORKac was extended for phase two, which will include the design and construction of the new library.

WORKac, founded in 2003, was named the number one design firm in the United States in 2017 by Architect Magazine because of their portfolio of projects that are “playful, colorful and well detailed.” Some of their internationally recognized projects include the New Holland Island Cultural Center in St. Petersburg, Russia; the Blaffer Art Museum in Houston, Texas; the Children’s Museum of the Arts in Manhattan, NY; the Edible Schoolyard at P.S. 2016 in Brooklyn, NY; the Kew Gardens Hills Library in Queens, NY; and the Weifang Campus Library in Weifang, China. Principal architect, Amale Andraos, is the dean of the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University, and the firm’s partner, Dan Wood, is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects and has credentials for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).

The Site

site selection for North Boulder Branch Library
image of property lines for location

In November 2018, the site at the east side of Broadway at Rosewood and stretching between Broadway and 14th Street (4540 Broadway Street) was selected for the new north Boulder branch library. This site is owned by the City of Boulder and offers many benefits. It is a secluded and protected quiet site, surrounded by nature and with expansive views towards the mountains. It will provide generous outdoor spaces and accommodate the full program without requiring any flood mitigation. It is easily accessible and will accommodate both day-to-day traffic and parking as well as parking for special events. It will provide a fully functioning library for years into the future and can be expanded if desired.

Access and parking
One of the key aspects of the on-site analysis was anticipated traffic flow to and through the site and the number of parking spaces required. The intent is to have a neutral impact on adjacent neighborhood parking availability by encouraging multi-modal transportation to the library and by providing adequate on-site parking. The city hired Fox Tuttle Hernandez Transportation Group (FTH) to conduct traffic studies and provide recommendations about the anticipated number of car visits and the number of parking spaces required. Based on the empirical data collected by their study of the Meadow’s and George Reynolds Branch Libraries, FTH recommends 54 vehicles as the peak number accessing either site hourly and a total of 30 parking spaces needed. This estimate aligns with the City of Boulder parking code requirement for a 12,000 sq. ft. building, as outlined in 801.2.1 Off-Street Parking Schedule of the 2015 International Zoning Code.

Accommodation of pedestrian, bike, and public transportation visits are being considered separately.

More information on preliminary site designs including parking plans can be viewed in the Design Concept Presentation.

Community Engagement

The project team and the Library Commission welcomes input from the community at any time. Contact Antonia Gaona, the project coordinator at [email protected] with questions or input about the project. All input received is shared with members of the project team and the Library Commission.

As part of Phase One, WORKac worked closely with library staff to organize a series of community engagement events. The events were primarily located in north Boulder, encouraging participation of neighborhood residents.

There were three open houses and four targeted events aimed at specific audiences. At each event, WORKac displayed boards with images of WORKac’s previous work, basic information of each potential NoBo library site, a series of questions, and a general timeline of the project. The architects and library staff were available during the event to discuss questions or concerns. At each community engagement event, questionnaires were available. These forms, printed in both English and Spanish, encouraged attendees to participate further and provide feedback on several key issues.

The feedback received during the events and through online submissions were carefully reviewed, measured, and analyzed to inform the findings detailed in the full community engagement report.

  • Nobo Branch Library Design Update from Architect Dan Wood was shared with the community on May 10th
    Architect Dan Wood from WORKac presented an overview of the input received during March community engagement sessions and outlined how that input influenced the overall design of the new library. He also presented a new large scale model of the new north Boulder branch which is on display in the Canyon Gallery until June 9th. The design update presented to the community can be viewed here.
  • At a series of Community Engagement Events held on March 8 and 9, WORKac presented the updated Library Concept Design.  During these engagements events, the public was asked to provide input about the proposal.
  • The project team presented the design concept before the Planning Board at a public hearing on April 4th in Council Chambers at 1777 Broadway.  You are invited to review the notes from the hearing.
  • April 4, 2019 — Public hearing on Concept Plan with Planning Board – 6 p.m.- Council Chambers, 1777 Broadway
  • May 8, 2019Library Commission meeting, Main Library, Canyon Meeting Room
  • WORKac architect, Dan Wood, presented the design concept to the Library Commission on January 9. WORKac has developed an inspirational and creative design, focused on the primary needs and requests identified in community engagements over the past year. View the Design Concept Presentation.

Project Funding

Community Culture and SafetyOn Nov. 7, 2017, Boulder voters approved two ballot measures to extend the Community, Culture and Safety (CCS) Tax for Capital Improvements. This four-year extension of the 0.3 percent temporary sales tax (originally approved in 2014) will fund several important city facilities and infrastructure projects. It will also provide matching funds for several community nonprofit facilities. Included in this tax are funds for the north Boulder branch library.

The project will be partially funded by the November 2017 renewal of the Community, Culture and Safety (CCS) Tax for Capital Improvements. The amount funded through the CCS tax will be $5 million.

There is an additional $3.5 million dollars in funding identified to come from other library funds. The initial cost estimate for the concept design is about $10 million. The estimate for the concept design is considered a high-level estimate. There is projected to be a $1- $1.5 million-dollar gap between completing the project in alignment with the community’s vision and the currently available resources.

The project team is looking into opportunities for additional funding such as grants to offset the cost of the energy conservation features or fundraising to fund interior costs for programmatic areas including the makerspace, community meeting space, Boulder Reads, etc.  The Boulder Library Foundation (BLF) will be commencing a capital fundraising campaign, more information can be found on the BLF website.

Community input received during the March 2019 community engagement sessions will identify the highest priority programmatic areas for the north Boulder branch library. Based on the community input, the project team will consider opportunities to adjust the scope to fall within available budget resources (identified at that time) and present them to the Library Commission in May 2019.

Annual Operating Costs
Annual operating costs are estimated to start at $350,000 and will require an addition of ongoing funding to the Boulder Public Library operating budget. A request for these operating funds will be made during the 2019 or 2020 City of Boulder budget process.