Library takes shape at corner of Market Street and Midlothian Boulevard
Architect, Ronald Cornell Faniro
General Trades contractor, The Murphy Company , Youngstown, $2,460,
Plumbing Prout Boiler, Heating & Welding, Inc., Youngstown $217,500
Mechanical York Mahoning Mechanical Contractors, Inc., Youngstown $159,100
Fire Protection Fire Foe Corporation, Girard $84,650
Electrical Geller Warden Electric, Inc., Canfield $460,400
Casework Interior Products Co., Cleveland $266,159
Project bids came in well under the expected amounts. The total of all bids was $3,608,301, which represents a savings of $701,964 over the original published estimate of $4,310,365 for base bids.
YOUNGSTOWN (November 20, 2007) – Revitalization. Redevelopment. Renovation. Three R's that all point to a new beginning for the Market Street and Midlothian Boulevard area with construction of a new branch library.
After several years of planning, the Library begins construction on a $3.6 million branch that will bring new life into the area designated as a key component of the Youngstown 2010 land-use plan. Bids for this new branch came in approximately $702,000 under the original published amount of $4.3 million, a significant savings for the Library. Construction begins immediately and the branch is expected to be complete in 10 to12 months.
The library will also have a new name. The system's newest library will be known as the Newport Branch Library, recognizing the neighborhood named in the Youngstown 2010 Plan and honoring the history and tradition of the area, which extends back to 1929.
Library Director Carlton A. Sears Discusses the New Library
“The start of construction on this library may seem like it's been a long time coming for people who have seen the outdoor sign announcing the project for the past 20 months. But what they don't know is that we have actually been preparing for this for over four years,” says Carlton A. Sears, Library Director.
“The project began in 2003 with a study of urban area library branches. This study was then merged in 2004 into the Library 2011 countywide strategic plan. The plan provides a clear direction for the library system to come to grips with the reality of how Youngstown and Mahoning County have changed since the early 1900s when many of our libraries were originally developed.
“We learned that people love their libraries but that libraries needed to have larger collections and offer a wider variety of services. We've found out over the years that people place a very high value on their libraries being conveniently located.
“When the Newport Branch Library is finished about a year from now, it will be one of the most exciting libraries in the county,” Sears says.
“It will provide everything that you can find in the best libraries of the day. And with features like a special space for teens that was designed with teen input and an area dedicated to early literacy skills, this branch will chart new ground.
“But this library will do more. Its location is featured prominently in the Youngstown 2010 Plan, as well as the 2006 vision plan that was created for Boardman. This library will bring communities together,” the Library Director stresses.
“That really isn't so unusual. It already happens in our libraries. But a year from now when this branch opens, this library will be one of the most visible in the county, and I predict that will result in its being one of the busiest. And that's exactly what we are setting about to achieve in our strategic plan. While it's taken us four years to get here, it will be worth the wait.”
Serving Not Only the City, But the Entire County
As the Library's Urban Branch Study indicated, the City is on the cusp of a new beginning and the Library has an important role to play. The investment in a new library branch at the corner of Market Street and Midlothian Boulevard demonstrates the Library's commitment to the City of Youngstown - but it doesn't stop there. This branch will serve as a regional hub at a location that is a gateway both to and from Youngstown. The Newport Branch Library will be a focal point that will draw from the adjacent Boardman, as well as many nearby communities.
At the kickoff, Dr. David Ritchie, president of the Library's Board of Trustees, spoke about the Board's vision to create a state-of-the-art urban branch library that will be an essential element in the community, bringing people together from all parts of the county for library materials, programs and services.
Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams expressed his support of the Library's project as important to the city and the Youngstown 2010 Plan.
About the New Branch Library
“This architecturally impressive library on beautifully landscaped grounds will be an inviting and welcoming facility. When this project is complete, citizens from throughout the county will find that there are many wonderful opportunities at this branch,” Sears says . “The Newport Library will have an urban, contemporary look and feel. We believe this branch will be widely used and our goal is to make it an inviting and welcoming facility.”
The Newport Library is expected to be one of the most active branches in the library system. Planning has been carefully executed to include a full complement of services.
Community input played a big part in the planning of this new branch . “We held several meetings to gather community suggestions and comments - and we took the input seriously. Along with adults, we enlisted teens to give their input at a design meeting held specifically for them, so that teens will be attracted to the area designed for them and feel comfortable in using their library,” Sears says.
The design utilizes light in an exciting way. The new library will literally be a beacon of light at the corner of Market Street and Midlothian Boulevard. Walls of glass and rooftop monitors allow natural light to permeate the building's interior. But these features do much more: when lit up at night, they will create the feel of a beacon that can be seen from a distance. The roof of the library can be seen from as far away as the corner of Market Street and Route 224.
Even though this is an urban library, one priority was to create green space, rather than a sea of asphalt, in the parking area surrounding the new library. Sears says, “We are conscious of our role in revitalizing this important corner. One of our goals is to create a green space with trees and landscaped islands for an almost park-like feel.”
The Newport Branch will include a Chapters Café with seating area, two meeting rooms, a children's area, teen area, computers with the latest technology and Internet access, audio/visual materials and much more.
Unique to this library will be an Early Literacy area, which will go hand-in-hand with the Baby Brilliant program. “Studies have shown how important certain pre-literacy skills are when working with babies from birth to 3 years of age. Our Baby Brilliant programs help babies learn pre-literacy skills and demonstrate techniques to parents, teachers and caregivers to help babies become successful readers,” Sears says. “In this new branch, we have an opportunity to design a special area with books, toys and furnishings that can be used by families to bring Baby Brilliant to life. We are excited about this new area and the seeds for this idea came from input at our community meetings.”
Some 15,000 square feet will be devoted to library space. The remaining areas of the building will house back-office operations such as library material processing and delivery.
The library's design is a collaborative effort of Ronald Cornell Faniro, Architects, AIA Inc., of Youngstown, and their library design consultant, Meehan Architects of Cleveland. Faniro's firm serves as the lead architect for the project with Meehan Architects being responsible for the library planning and interior design aspects of the project. The General Trades contractor is The Murphy Contracting Company of Youngstown.
The Library is committed to turning this building into a beautiful, up-to-date facility. Faniro says, “ This building will undergo a dramatic change both externally and internally to prepare the structure for the new use. It will literally be taken apart and put back together to suit the Library's needs, create a new image for the facility and define this corner as a gateway to the re-emerging city.”
In 2006, the Library purchased a 24,500-square-foot structure at 3730 Market St. from Giant Eagle. The property, valued at $350,000, was made available to the Library for the sum of $225,000, with Giant Eagle making a charitable contribution of the additional $125,000 toward that purchase.
The current South Library, 1771 Market St., will remain open until the new library is ready. This branch was built in 1929 and remodeled in 1972. The building has only 6,450 square feet that is usable for library service and the structure is in need of repair. The declining population in the area surrounding the current location has led to a drop in usage at that branch.
What's in a Name? New Branch Carries On Tradition of Newport Area
Comments from Dr. David Ritchie, President, Library Board of Trustees
Comments from Jay Williams, Mayor of Youngstown
Contractors for the Project; Bids Save Library Approximately $702,000
The Murphy Contracting Company
Newport Branch Project Architect, Engineers and Contractors (Adobe pdf file)
Project Overview from Architect Ronald Cornell Faniro
“After a year of planning, the Newport Branch Library is now ready to commence. We as architects feel privileged to have been selected for such an important project. We are excited for the citizens of Mahoning County, the citizens of Youngstown and Boardman, as this project represents one of the first steps in the advancement of regionalism. This branch library will further dull the invisible line between Boardman and Youngstown. This is truly a facility for many communities and many citizens. This is what excites us.”
The structure will undergo a dramatic change both externally and internally to prepare the building for the new use. The 24,000 square-foot structure will literally be taken apart and put back together to suit The Library's needs, to create a new image for the facility and to define this corner as a gateway to the re-emerging city.
All public functions will be housed on the first floor and will consist of a Chapter Café and public meeting rooms, which will be available for use by community groups even when the Library proper is closed. The Library itself will feature an expanded Adult and Children's collections, an Early Literacy area, Teen Library, Public Access Computers, Study Rooms and expanded Audio/Visual collections.
New vitality will be bred into the structure as the building will change from its current aesthetic into a contemporary look. The building will be recreated using large expanses of glass curtainwall, aluminum architectural facing panels and masonry units of a color which accents the existing brick color on the building.
The interior core of the building will become awash with natural light from the south as a long linear roof monitor will stretch from the main entrance and extend into the central portions of the main library floor. The extensive use of glass to introduce natural light will be incorporated to make the interior investment as lively as the décor scheme being currently developed.
As the structure can currently be seen from the intersection of Market Street and Route 224, the building will glow from within during the evening hours and serve as a beacon for travelers and will create an unmistakable landmark to the gateway into Youngstown.
The site properties will undergo an equally dramatic change. The current sea of asphalt will be redefined into a series of smaller parking areas, which will be punctuated by landscape islands. A 20-foot wide pedestrian greenway that will extend from Market St. to the main entrance of the library will be lavishly landscaped and provided with pedestrian-friendly furnishings to promote community interaction and to draw patrons into the library proper. The appearance and feel of the site properties will transform from one of a barren urban wasteland into a community oasis with the library structure standing in its center.
The building project is a collaborative effort of Ronald Cornell Faniro, Architects, AIA Inc. and their library design consultant, Meehan Architects of Cleveland, Ohio. Faniro's firm serves as the lead architect for the project with Meehan Architects being responsible for the library planning and interior design aspects of the project.