In 1962, the original 7,500 sf Elva L. Haskett Public Library was designed and built within a new community park, which was the first new library constructed in Anaheim, California. Both library and park faithfully served surrounding families, resulting in a service population of over 65,000 by the year 2002. Over the years, the community profile changed from technically educated aerospace engineering families to deeply mixed ethnic neighborhoods of immigrants having limited means and skills. Neighborhoods filled with school-age children impacted limited library and surrounding school resources with multitudes of children seeking homework materials, language assistance, and Internet access.
A new library was envisioned to address the need for additional library services in the growing community, and a “community partnership” began early in the planning process. Community design workshops were conducted and a special education outreach committee obtained feedback. Educators from surrounding schools were consulted to develop library services including programs to complement in-class studies—meeting California Education Standards. Together, the library design team embraced the knowledge that a City truly prospers from library and educational programs when essential programs are provided. As a result, the project was awarded funding from the 2004 State Library Bond Act with building construction cost limitations of $210.00 per sf. Energy-efficiency strategies were employed to minimize energy consumption and to promote natural daylighting —evident in the main public lobby, reading, and reference areas. Projected energy and water use exceed prevailing conservation standards by 30% and qualify the project for a Silver LEED rating.
The Robbie Waters Pocket-Greenhaven Library is the community centerpiece of a joint-use development project between the City of Sacramento and the Sacramento City Unified School District. The Library adjoins the 6.6-acre Sojourner Truth Park and the School of Engineering and Sciences High School. The single story 15,400 sf (LEED Silver) library features a variety of special spaces catering to all interest groups and activities. Special attention was given to the unique spatial needs for toddlers, kids, teens, and adult users. A highly efficient and organized plan was critical to tie all these spaces together while maintaining separation of public and private staff spaces. Natural light into the core of the Library and views to the outdoor were additional critical elements considered. The Robbie Waters Pocket-Greenhaven Library is truly a “place-to-be” and a destination for not just the immediate community but the entire City of Sacramento.
The functional and technical requirements for this project posed several unique challenges for our design team. The Client, a municipal government, had embarked upon an aggressive and ambitious plan to create a new urban center: A mixed-use retail/office/residential city center destined to become the new focal point of the community. Within this urban center’s master plan, the client reserved a 3-1/2 acre parcel for a public cultural center bringing a 540-seat theater for performing arts, a 125,000-volume library, and a 300-person events center referred to as “Celebration Hall” to an urban retail environment.
The design team emphasized pedestrian access either through or around the facility designing an “Arbor Court” to link the residential area to public spaces and encourage nearby residents to walk through the building and Imagination Courtyard. The “rotunda” created for this purpose provides secure access to the Performing Arts Theater and Library or allows individuals direct access into the courtyard.
The Fontana Community Senior Center has become a lively and thriving intergenerational place where 55-plus, 66-plus, and youth can connect with each other through mentoring programs. The Center has increased cultural unity through diverse clubs, an art gallery where multicultural arts are displayed, and a reading library that has books from around the globe.
The Center definitely provides a safe place where our seniors can stay fit, have fun, relax, learn, and socialize. The Center and its members are protected by a high-tech security system featuring 30 security cameras and direct access to Fontana police and medical response, along with a transportation program designed to transport members to their doctor’s office, shopping centers, and other places within the city limits.
The design and construction of the facility has made a positive impact on the community by uplifting the image of an older existing neighborhood with the wonderful California Mission-style architecture, state-of-the-art “green” building principles, and innovative functionality. The Center promotes health and wellness by encouraging seniors to participate in a well-balanced nutrition program, get involved in physical fitness activities, keep their minds active with learning programs, and get access to medical, legal, tax, and health care advice. The City of Fontana, city staff, citizens, and members of the Center are extremely pleased with the results of the facility design and take great pride by demonstrating care of the facility and increased membership numbers every month.
The Fontana Community Senior Center supports the mission of the California Park and Recreation Society by providing excellence in design and promoting participation in recreational experiences while strengthening community image and a sense of place, cultural unity, safety, and security.
From an architectural perspective, the Montclair Senior Center is a modern building taking its cues from the mid-century architecture of the existing civic center without being too sterile through the use of warm building finishes like wood and stone. The new Center allows greater flexibility in the “Great Room,” which can be sectioned off into smaller rooms for multiple uses. This multi-purpose concept creates usable space for smaller groups as well as large-scale events with minimal impact on the building’s aesthetic qualities by allowing the facility to expand to a total capacity of approximately 225 for dining and nearly 300 for assembly. This unique design element allows City staff to schedule more classes and activities because of space availability and flexibility. The ability to offer more classes and workshops covering topics such as health insurance updates, counseling, caring for family members, safe driving, and self-defense will allow more seniors to participate, make friends, become more educated, have fun, and lead more productive lives.
The success of the Senior Center, from the community use perspective, can be measured in a couple of different ways. It is expected that participation in regularly scheduled programs will increase in the new facility. This has already been reflected in the increased number of people attending the daily nutrition program. According to Nutrition Site Manager Patti Pennington, daily attendance has increased approximately 20 percent from about 65 to between 75 and 80. While it is still too early to tell, staff will assess increases in participation by seniors in other activities such as Bingo, Bunco, card games, needlecraft, and scrapbooking.
The Montclair Youth Center opened January 30, 2010. The 7,000 square-foot center represents a brilliant adaptive re-use of the former Montclair Police Department. The converted structure takes advantage of existing exterior walls and utilizes interior space to create a balance of openness, privacy, and entertainment. Montclair’s youth now have access to a facility with a computer lab, arts and crafts room, snack bar, study room, billiard and game room, and multi-purpose spaces.
The Montclair Youth Center was specifically designed to inspire a feeling of openness among the community’s youth. This architectural concept is achieved by large windows, glass walls throughout, and open activity areas that flow into one another. The structural vision mirrors the mission of the Youth Center: to create a usable space where the youth of Montclair are free to enjoy a fun, safe, and friendly environment in which to interact with their peers as well as City staff.
The master plan for the new City Hall boldly proposes the creation of a spacious central park, bordered by a new “state-of-the-art” City Hall on one edge and Yucaipa Boulevard on the opposing side. The vision for the design provides the citizens of Yucaipa an outdoor “great room” to celebrate community life on a grand scale. The design concept allows City Hall to be potentially a unique place where residents can cherish the past and manage the future. Yucaipa City Hall is sited in an expansive, open space setting, to optimize the north to east views of the Crafton Hills. Both the grounds and the architecture evoke the “craftsman style” of the Arts and Crafts movement of the early 1900s. This subtle contradiction between the old and the new creates contrast, variety, and interest in the proposed architecture.
The design concept supports the belief that the City Hall image and identity will always be shaped by the beautiful imagery of the City Hall architecture, and that the greatest public City Hall identity will always be along Yucaipa Boulevard. The existing City Hall image and identity provides significant community quality and is a vital component of the vision for the project.