Community Celebrates Northside Branch Library Groundbreaking
By Robert Haugh
Celebrating years of vision and over a decade in the making, Santa Clarans cheered the groundbreaking of Santa Clara’s Northside Branch Library on July 9.
The state-of-the-art, 17,500-square foot facility will further enhance the City’s nationally recognized Library program and will feature a grand entry plaza with a glass canopy entry, a reading courtyard with park views, 2,000 square-foot community room, separate children’s and teen’s book collections and gathering areas, high ceilings with clerestory windows for natural day lighting and a vehicle pickup/drop off area.
"For many years, our community has talked about a branch library in the Northside area of Santa Clara to serve the needs of our growing population in that neighborhood ... The recession delayed many of our important capital projects, so it is extremely satisfying to at long last begin construction on this addition to our library services," stated Mayor Jamie Matthews, adding "When we designed this Rivermark community we had this in mind. We always kept our mind on the ball ... always looking as this as a center of the community ... We know this will be a wonderful place for the community."
City Librarian Julie Passalaqua added that the Northside branch library began as early as 1960, explaining that the library branch will serve the diverse needs of the community, featuring a wide variety of programs for all ages, with enhanced educational programs, meetings rooms, emerging technologies, computer labs and free WiFi. According to Passalaqua, materials will be available in all formats, from print to digital.
"Today is the first step in bringing this dream to fruition. And in Jennifer [Sparacino’s] famous words, the goal is to complete the project on time and under budget," concluded Passalaqua.
The Board of Library Trustees first recommended construction of a new branch in the Northside in 1987, with the City Council adding the facility to the list of future capital projects.
Consistently ranked as one of the top 10 public libraries in the U.S., surpassing 1.5 million guests in 2011, the Santa Clara City Library has a circulation of nearly three million items annually.
The branch Library is slated for LEED silver certification, highlighted by water efficient landscaping, motion-controlled energy saving light fixtures, a white "cool" roof to reduce cooling costs and more, making the new library one of the most green-friendly libraries.
The entire City Council was present, as well as Police Chief Kevin Kyle, City Clerk Rod Diridon, Jr., City Attorney Ren Nosky and several City department Directors and staff members. Others in the standing-room-only crowd of approximately 200 included recently retired City Manager Jennifer Sparacino, Santa Clara Unified School District Superintendent Bobbie Plough, SCUSD Board President Elise DeYoung and Board members Andy Ratermann and Chris Koltermann plus several current and past City Commissioners.
Director of Public Works Rajeev Batra served as the emcee.
Located on 695 Moreland Way at Live Oak Park, behind the Rivermark shopping center, construction of the library is budgeted at $9.85 million and funded from the City’s capital improvement project budget. Construction of the library, the first new library in the City since 1967, is expected to begin soon and finish in the Fall of 2013.
The Santa Clara City Library Foundation & Friends Board, a nonprofit organization that raises funds to support library goals, co-sponsored the event with the City, with Rivermark merchants, Keypoint Credit Union, Peets Coffee and Yan Can Asian Bistro providing refreshments, while California’s Great America sent Snoopy to delight children attending.
Visit www.lovethelibrary.org for additional information on the Santa Clara City Library Foundation & Friends.