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Library progresses

The 30,000-square-foot Old Town Newhall project will cost $29.31 million

Posted: April 10, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: April 10, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Exterior view of Newhall Library looking west from future parking lot in Newhall on Thursday.

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The massive 30,000-square-foot Old Town Newhall Library on the corner of Lyons and Railroad avenues is nearing
completion, and a recent tour shows the building will be multipurpose and technology-centric.

Many of the 104 computers are traditional desktops, but residents will also be able to check out laptops — complete with wireless Internet access — and use them anywhere in the library, including in front of a gas fireplace.

Features seem designed to create a community gathering place of many uses. Those features were requested by various community groups, Santa Clarita spokeswoman Gail Ortiz and Harry Corder, senior engineer and project manager, said during the tour.

“At the end of the day, we met everyone’s expectations,” Corder said.

But not everyone is happy with the building that will dominate downtown Newhall.

“This building is a monstrosity,” said Nanette Meister, who lives off Placerita Canyon Road and walks by the construction site at least twice a week. “I know people that went to the city and said don’t build it this big.”

The total cost of the library is $29.31 million, which includes land acquisition, design, demolition, providing for new water hydrants to reach the library, undergrounding and relocating utilities, decorative street lights, grading the site, construction and testing and inspecting the construction, Ortiz said in an email.

The construction budget also includes $848,000 for technology — including computers and booksorters — and $703,800 for furniture.

About 140 to 150 construction jobs were created throughout the project, Corder said.

While construction on the library should be complete in the next few months, the new structure probably won’t be open until this fall, while work is done on decorating and installing the furniture and technology, Ortiz said.

Children interested in the new electronic book sorters will be able to watch the sorting through a glass window as they enter the library, said Harry Corder, senior engineer and project manager for the Newhall library.

Rooms for younger children, preteens and teenagers on the first floor will offer age-appropriate themes and activities.

The room for young children will feature early learning computers and allow access to a special story room through a replica of Beale’s Cut — a 30-foot-deep cut made through the Newhall Pass in the 1800s to allow stagecoaches to pass through.

The story room will have soft furniture and be crowned with a tall tower, Corder said.

The teen area includes quiet study rooms with glass walls and a teen lounge where kids can enjoy TV and video games.

Another feature on the first floor is a community room — with an outside patio attached — that can hold up to 100 people.

A computer lab room that can be opened for classes will also be available on the first floor.

Second-floor features

While much of the first floor is dedicated to children and teenagers, the second floor has a large reading room and circulation area for adults to use. Residents will be able to read or use their laptops in front of a working gas fireplace during cold weather.

The second floor will also offer a cultural history room, four quiet study rooms and more computers.

The library has two main entrances, one on Lyons Avenue and one on Spruce Street, and will also have fountains, walkways and benches shaded by oak trees.

Residents will be able to park on the east end of the library near Railroad Avenue.

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