Albany, New York
As of June 2010, the Albany Public Library (APL) completed the $29.1 million Branch Improvement Plan-the first comprehensive infrastructure project in its history. The plan involved renovating three existing branches-Pine Hills, Delaware, and John A. Howe-along with constructing two new branches – John J. Bach and Arbor Hill/West Hill. Albany voters showed support for the plan in 2007 when they overwhelmingly approved a referendum to fund the relocation, renovation, and construction of five branch libraries in the city. The new libraries opened to the public between November 2009 and June 2010. The project to build and renovate Albany’s branch libraries was named “best use of public funds” by Metroland magazine in 2010. Al- bany Public Library was given the 2010 Organization of the Year Award from the Neighborhood Resource Center for its “incredibly transformative work in our city neighborhoods” through the new libraries.
Design & Construction
These state-of-the-art, fully accessible branch libraries include community meeting spaces; expanded collection spaces for adults, teens, and children; public computing areas for adults, teens, and children; indoor and out- door gardens; and small group tutoring/study rooms. All of these features were suggested by the community through an extensive input process that formed the foundation of the plan.
The three renovation projects were designed by the Albany-based architectural firm of CS Arch and were built by Latham-based Bunkoff General Contractors. The two new building projects were designed by Hom & Goldman architects of New York City and were built by Albany-based Sano-Rubin Construction, Inc. The Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY) was project manager at all five projects in the Branch Improvement Plan.
APL is committed to “green” branch libraries that are energy efficient, environmentally responsible, and healthy for customers and staff. Green building is the best, most responsible use of taxpayers’ money because energy efficient libraries are more cost effective to operate and healthier for the environment. The renovation and building projects utilized green design and construction principles, techniques, materials, and furnishings. All five buildings are being evaluated by the U.S. Green Building Council in pursuit of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) designations. The three renovated buildings are expected to achieve LEED certified status, while the two new buildings are planned to achieve LEED silver status.