Library construction surpasses billion-dollar plateau

August 11, 2010

Spending on library facilities reached record levels in fiscal 2004, surpassing the $1 billion mark for the first time, according to a recent report by Library Journal, a BD&C sister publication.

Public agencies spent a total of $1.24 billion on 99 new facilities and 104 renovation projects completed between July 1, 2003 and June 30, 2004 — a 48% increase over fiscal 2003 spending ($837 million) and a 60% jump over 2002 figures ($778 million).

The large growth was due, in part, to the completion of two massive projects that accounted for more than one-quarter of total public library construction spending: the $163 million, 363,000-sf Seattle Public Library and the $167 million, 492,000-sf San Jose Public Library.

The rising cost of construction was also a factor. Average cost per square foot for new library construction was up 17% in 2004 to $288.24/sf (including construction costs, equipment, and site), following a 22% rise in 2003. Cost per square foot for renovation and addition projects was up 2% to $155.71/sf.

Joint development between cities, school districts, community service departments, and universities continues to be a trend in library construction, according to the report.

San Jose PL is one of several libraries developed in conjunction with an academic institution. The city shared the $167 million price tag with San Jose State University, which dedicated its portion of the facility as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library. Similar projects include the $9 million Dennis L. Jones Seminole (Fla.) Community Library at St. Petersburg College and the $19 million Jackson County Central Library/Rogue Community College Library in Medford, Ore.

Facilities in Winter Haven, Fla., and Oak Park, Ill., incorporate public spaces, including playgrounds and parks. Libraries in Glendale and Fresno, Calif., are shared between the community and local school district.

The most extreme example of joint development is the Curtiss e-Library in Hialeah, Fla., which is a 5,000-sf addition to the local police station. (Don't forget to return those overdue books!)

On the academic side, 36 new construction and renovation projects were completed in fiscal 2004, up from 31 in 2003, according to the report. Projects include the $48 million, 200,000-sf Kellogg Library at California State University, San Marcos, and the $37 million, 98,000-sf Marian Gould Gallagher Law Library at University of Washington, Seattle.

         
 

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