Southeast Library July 21 Design Meeting

Southeast Library July 21 Design Meeting

Questions and Answers from Virtual Meeting

In Attendance: 

Approximately 30 community members, as well as staff from Quinn/Evans Architects, DC Public Library, and Laura Marks, Chief of Staff for Councilmember Charles Allen. 

Opening Introduction and Slideshow: 

Welcome and introduction by Richard Reyes-Gavilan, Executive Director of DC Public Library. Slideshow led by architects Chuck Wray and Jeff Hoover sharing the evolution of the design reflecting comments from the community and regulatory review panels. 

Questions and Comments: 

Will the reduced amount of Friends storage space be sufficient for the monthly book sales held by the Friends of Southeast Library? Can you explain some of the changes that will be made to ensure the book sales can continue? 

The Friends room will be smaller than the current space. Virtually everyone program area in this project is slightly smaller than what we might ideally offer if we were building a completely new library. In the case of the Friends room, the trade-off is between a larger space for the Friends or study room for the public. To accommodate the Friends’ monthly book sales, the new system will be for the Friends to accept book donations only in the week leading up to their monthly sale. The branch manager will block of the study room during that week to allow for additional storage as donations come in. We have discussed this with the Friends and they agreed to this approach. 

We will be increasing the size of, what we now call, the “Honor Shelf”. The Honor Shelf is the ongoing perpetual book sale space. Right now we have one; in the new building we will have two, one for adult books and another for children’s books. 

The library is small. How will the noise from the Children’s Library not be an issue throughout the building? 

The children’s library is located on the lowest floor. There will be a glass acoustical barrier separating the children’s library from the ground floor above. The design team will be using sound dampening techniques throughout this project. This is a huge improvement over the current building, where children and families really don’t have a space that is separate from the adults. 

Will there be a noise issue between the conference room and the computer area? 

We are going to study possible noise between rooms. There are design approaches we can make to ensure noise is not an issue. Also, the conference room seats only 6 – 8 people, so we do not anticipate loud or amplified events in that space. 

What were the delays and costs of lawsuits regarding other branches? 

We have had a couple projects that faced delays as a result of lawsuits, but the majority of our projects were delivered on time and on budget.  

Will the old entrance still be open? 

Yes, the historic entrance will remain open, but because it is not accessible, we are creating the universal entrance on the southwest corner of the building (South Carolina Ave.). 

Are there any concerns about the Metro running beneath the building? Or the utilities that run beneath it? 

We have done a detailed survey of the area beneath the building and have no utilities that are problematic. Everything running under the building serves the building. There is a protected sewer line running between the 7th Street sidewalk and the building. A study has been completed to assess the impact of our work on the Metro station and we have been cleared. 

Where will the trash dumpster be located? 

There will not be a large dumpster. There will be a series of rollout trash cans located on the ground floor stored below the raised mechanical court.  

Can there be an additional after hours book drop on D Street? 

We have worked with library staff and the design team on where the book drop location works best. Because a book drop is more than just a slot in the wall - there has to be room on the inside for the carts, storage, etc. - we do not have the interior room to accommodate more than one slot. 

If we are doubling the library space why are the Friends losing space? 

Based on the usage of Southeast Library, if we were building a new building, we would be building a larger building. Since we are working with an historic structure that is small we need to maximize every square inch of the interior space. The choice was either creating a ‘warehouse’ space for the Friends to store books for future sales or creating a study room – and study rooms are in demand every single hour of every day.  We made the decision to create a study room. 

How are you going to service the Service Court?  

It’s an open court with a structured frame above it and all the equipment sits on a steel frame above. There is a door to allow access to the space from D Street.  

How will the Service Court be built?  

There will be a requirement to underpin the adjacent neighbor’s house. There will be a plan developed by Whiting Turner that will be shared with the neighbors so that they understand what is going to happen, when it will happen, and why it is happening. The plan will include real-time monitoring devices to warn if there is any unexpected movement or vibration. Properties will be surveyed in advance of construction and again at the end. Everything possible will be done to allay the concerns of the neighbors. 

I’ve no question – just want to say great job working with limited space while respecting the historic nature of the building.