Tulsa Central Library to unveil renovation plans

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Updated: 2/19/2013 1:19 pm Published: 2/19/2013 11:05 am

A public meeting will be held Tuesday to unveil renovation plans to the public.

The meeting will be at 6 pm at the Central Library downtown.

The project will cost nearly $48 million dollars and will convert the downtown library to a state-of-the-art facility. The library will close in September for the 2-year renovation to begin. There will be functional and safety improvements as well as new features, like meeting rooms and also a digital library.

Below is additional information from the Tulsa Central Library Q&A.

Why does Central Library need to be renovated?
  • Central Library opened in 1965 and has had little substantial improvements since that time.
It’s time for a major face lift for two reasons:

First, at nearly 50 years old, the building is outdated and has a number of mechanical system and environmental deficiencies that need to be addressed before they become problematic.

Second, the building doesn’t serve the needs of the 21st Century customer as well as it could. Tulsa County residents deserve a building that reflects the modern era while being flexible to adapt to new changes in the future.
How much will the renovation cost and what is the timeline?
  • The renovation will cost approximately $47.8 million.
  • Roughly two-thirds of that budget will cover improvements to the building and the remainder will allow for new features.
  • Interior demolition is scheduled to begin this fall and construction should be complete in late 2015.
What deficiencies does the building have?
  • Most of the building’s mechanical and electrical systems are original, meaning they are inefficient by today’s standards; they are expensive to maintain; and they don’t have the capacity to serve the renovated facility’s needs going forward.
  • There are also some original building materials that are now deteriorating which need to replaced.
How will the new library better serve customers?
  • The libraries of yesterday were essentially large warehouses of books and other printed materials. In today’s digital age, people access so much more content using technology. More online resources will allow the library to free up space for customers to convene, collaborate, and create in new ways.
  • The modern and future library needs to allow people to create AND share content such as their own writing, music, videos, and other projects. Tulsa City-County Library wants to empower the community to fully enjoy these activities.
  • The public is requesting more meeting and programming space than is currently available. This will become increasingly more important as downtown Tulsa grows.
What is the purpose of the February 19 public meeting?
  • Library officials and architects will show plans for a new, modernized Central Library.
  • Architectural renderings will be shown to illustrate the vast potential for Central Library.
Attendees will learn more about plans for:
  • Improved access points for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists.
  • Improvements for meeting rooms and auditorium.
  • A new café that will serve coffee and food.
  • New areas such as a secure, outdoor garden
Why renovate Central Library now?
  • State of the Art when opened, it is now nearly 50 years old, energy inefficient, with aged mechanical systems.
  • The public is requesting more meeting & programming space, than is currently available.
  • There is a growing downtown population and more city residents are spending time downtown.
  • The Library is a key part of downtown, which is experiencing much growth and revitalization.
  • 21st century technology is crucial to bridging the digital divide and enabling civic engagement.
Projected impact of renovated central library:
  • Studies show significant economic benefits to communities with modern, exciting libraries.
  • Families move to and stay in communities with attractive libraries with robust collections and accessibility to new technology.
  • Residents of Tulsa will have more opportunities to convene, collaborate, and create, as well as a greater access to information for people of all ages.
  • Traffic is projected to increase at least 40% to 1,540 visits per day.

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