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Plans Advance for New, Larger Aptos Branch Library

Permitting process begins for 12,400 square-foot replacement

The Aptos Branch Library, built in 1975, is slated for demolition and replacement in 2021. PHOTO: TARMO HANNULA

Plans are moving forward with the Aptos Branch Library project to raze the existing 8,000-square-foot building, near the corner of State Park and Soquel drives, and build a 12,400-square-foot replacement.

While the wrecking ball isn’t expected to swing loose until next summer, sweeping strides have been made in the planning phase, which drew strong input and fundraising from the community, said Susan M. Nemitz, Director of Santa Cruz Public Libraries.

“After a year-long community design process, the Santa Cruz Public Libraries are thrilled to begin the construction documents and permitting process for the new Aptos Branch Library,” Nemitz said. “The project will allow us to expand services for children and adults and add collaborative teen space, community programming rooms, quiet study and outdoor reading areas. The building will serve as a vibrant community learning center for years to come.”

Taking out the existing library opens a window to develop a facility that is not only larger but also allows for a more efficient layout. Nemitz said that renovation of the existing building, plus an addition to accommodate the library’s programs, would be more expensive than the planned teardown and rebuild.  

Santa Cruz County currently has a design-build contract for both the architect and contractor for $12.35 million, Nemitz said. Funding for the project comes from Measure S, County Library Funds, and The Leonard Trust.

Plans for the new library also include a teen space, maker space, group study areas, an outdoor program, community terrace, teen’s patio, adult’s reading room, children’s garden and staff garden.  

Efforts to align with green building standards will include solar panels and an operational helix windmill, among other features, that contribute to zero net energy, Nemitz said. 

While the current library has 69 parking spaces, plans call to add four new proposed spots to the list including ADA spots. The entire parking lot will be repaired and slurry sealed. All-new striping will reflect the revised parking layout. Charging stations for electric vehicles are also in the works. 

Aptos residents will be able to get library service during construction at the La Selva Beach and Capitola Branches starting in March, well before tear down. 

“It’s going to be so beautiful,” Nemitz said. “The community has been so involved and has been generously donating.”

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