After years of preparation and decades of discussion, construction is scheduled to begin Wednesday on the long-awaited North Boulder Library branch.
In anticipation for the new facility, the city is hosting a groundbreaking ceremony at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday at 4500 13th St. The event is weather dependent, and if rescheduling is necessary, information will be posted on the library’s website and social media no later than 9 a.m. Wednesday, according to a news release from Boulder.
“I’m really excited that we can celebrate our libraries,” said Steven Frost, the vice chair of the Boulder Public Library Commission. “The last time we got a brand new library was 36 years ago. There’s a lot of conversations about growth in the city, and I think this is a way we can see positive growth.”
The North Boulder Library branch has been in the making for over 30 years and was solidified as a community and workplan priority in the 2018 Library Master Plan, the release said. Construction is expected to take about a year.
“It’s going to be awesome,” said Boulder Library Director David Farnan. “That community has wanted that library for more than 30 years. There were plans from the ’80s. It’s going to be a great library.”
The parcel of land was identified as the preferred site for this facility in 1999. The large lot is outside of the city’s floodplain and can accommodate a high-quality building, related outdoor space, nature-based programming and adequate parking. The location is accessible by public transit and alternative modes of travel, like biking and walking.
It is also adjacent to several communities that have historically been underserved, including Boulder Meadows and Ponderosa. The branch will also serve as the new center for adult literacy and language learning while providing additional afterschool programs.
The overall budget for the planning, design and construction of the facility is $12.5 million and comes from the Community, Culture and Safety Tax; Developmental Excise Tax; Impact Fees; and the Library Fund. The library is expected to become part of a soon-to-be-formed library district with operations costs covered by the district’s budget.
Some of the plans are still unfunded due to a funding gap created by the escalating costs of construction catalyzed by the coronavirus pandemic. For now, the 1,100 square-foot culinary maker space the community requested will instead be an empty flex space, unless additional donations are secured to support the Boulder Library Foundation’s $1.5 million NoBo Capital Campaign — or another funding opportunity is secured — according to the release. An anonymous donor will match every donation, up to $30,000, between now and Library Giving Day, April 4, Chris Barge, executive director of the Boulder Public Library Foundation, wrote in an email.
Barge said thanks to a $700,000 grant from the the Colorado Health Foundation, the foundation has raised $915,000 toward its $1.5 million goal. The grant will fund outdoor amenities, which were requested by community members but cut from the original North Boulder Library budget.
“The NoBo Library has been a long time coming, but it’s going to be worth the wait,” he said. “It’s up to the community now to vote with their donations on how much of their vision for this branch will be realized.”
More information about the campaign for the new library branch is available at boulderlibraryfoundation.org/nobo-capital-campaign/.
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