Two-Story Alpharetta Library Includes Auditorium
A tornado warning – complete with weather sirens wailing, hail and rain crashing down – didn't keep local residents from getting their first look at plans for the new facility.
Alpharetta's new library will be two stories tall to take advantage of the downtown City Center property's topography, and to disturb the least amount of land, architects for the project say.
"This day has been a long time coming," said Fulton Commissioner Liz Hausmann as she introduced library project members to Alpharetta City Council and local residents. She said the county worked hard to bring a library design that fits in with the Alpharetta City Center project
Tim Fish of Cooper Carry said designers wanted to "make sure the building fit in not only from an environmental approach to save as many trees as we possibly could," but also to fit the community.
Alpharetta residents and other library system patrons can view the boards showing the library design at the existing Alpharetta Library, or soon online at the library system's Building for the Future page. Comments are invited on those boards or via email.
The parking lot at the library also was kept small, with just 35 spaces, to keep as much green as possible. Another eight spaces will be available along the road next to the library. That sounds as if there are fewer parking spaces than at the small existing library on Mayfield. However, a 450-space parking garage is just across the two-lane street from the library, with more than 125 spaces available for library patrons to use.
The library construction is being scheduled so it can open as closely as possible to the date Alpharetta's new City Hall opens in fall 2014, said Al Collins of the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System staff. Construction will begin by late summer or early fall this year.
The first floor of the library will open up to the green park area of City Center. It will have the children's area, including a children's circulation desk and a children's program room.
Local residents, including City Councilman Michael Cross, asked if a changing room could be moved closer to the children's program room – a move that probably any parent can understand.
Also on the first floor will be a 150-seat auditorium. This room has an outside entrance, and can be used outside of normal library hours.
The first floor, which will be accessible from the interior street, has a general circulation desk, the adult section, a media section, a teen's room, a quiet room and computers. Positioning the quiet room next to the teen room raised some eyebrows at the presentation to Alpharetta City Council and the community.
"There is an acutal sound barrier between those two rooms," pointed out Victor Vines, president of Vines Architecture of Raleigh-Durham, NC, a partner in the library design with Cooper Carry.
The Friends of the Alpharetta Library will have a store space just inside the top floor entrance.
A reading gallery faces the large windows that look out onto another building feature, a porch. The porch that runs along the north side of the library. Patrons can walk the length of the porch and down a flight of steps to reach the formal garden the city is installing between City Hall and the Alpharetta Library.
Don Nahser, an Alpharetta resident, offered his support of the schematic designs.
"I was one of the members of the original Friends of the Alpharetta Library when it was formed. The best I can figure was 30 something years ago now," he said.
Nahser is much happier with how this library project is being handled between the city and county. For the small library Alpharetta now has, he said the county "came in and said this is where we are going to build it, and this is what it is going to look like." The result was "it doesn't blend in with anything in Alpharetta."
This design he likes, and it's location.
"It's where we wanted it 35 years ago, which was in downtown Alpharetta," Nahser said.
He had one worry after reading an article in a newspaper that said Alpharetta would get a new library, but no books.
Interim Library System Director Anne Haimes rushed to the podium to explain that the project budget for each of the 10 new libraries includes money for construction and materials, whether the existing library has a current selection of library materials or not.