West Chester Library
West Chester, OH
The West Chester Library captures the sun, rainwater and the imagination of those seeking knowledge, information and enjoyment in the West Chester community. This new facility, completed in 2009, is the result of a successful partnership between West Chester Township who funded its design and construction and the Middletown Public Library System who is charged with its operation.
West Chester Township’s goals for the new library focused on a design with a strong “civic” presence, that is fiscally responsible, environmentally friendly and possessing a “wow” factor when enjoyed by both community residents and their visitors. The Library Board’s goals focused on providing a welcoming facility that functions well, is operationally efficient and is flexible in providing library service both today and in the future.
The library is located on an 8.2 acre site south of Lakota West High School. It is adjacent to The Square at Union Centre (park) and the site retention lake west of the park that further gives the Library its form and orientation. At approximately 50,000 sf the new library is forty percent larger than the Cox Road facility yet is efficiently designed to be operated with the same staffing levels. The site accommodates West Chester Library’s present and future needs in terms of growth while helping to create a “heart” and identity for the growing West Chester community.
This civic building is part of a growing urban ensemble involving the new urban park and new retail and office buildings adjacent to the site. All in an effort to reinforce a “walkable town center” district for the Community.
The Pavilion, the central form-giver to the building, is a series of high bay rooms that control day-lighting through carefully placed viewing windows and a grand clerestory. Windows at eye-level frame vistas of the surrounding park and pond that visually and in some cases physically extend activities outside into gardens for public gatherings, children’s activities and private contemplation. When viewed from across the pond, the Pavilion gives the building its civic presence as it ‘faces’ West Chester’s new town center.
Environmental design and sustainability efforts of the facility focus on capturing and monitoring daylight in a sophisticated day lighting scheme that reduces energy consumption and increases the quality of light for patrons throughout the building. The storm water collection system involves the adjacent retention pond and provides site irrigation for landscaped areas. The roofing membrane reduces heat island effect thus reduces the warming of the atmosphere in an effort to reduce the carbon footprint of the facility and move towards responsible sustainable design.
The library is equipped with wireless technology; over 190,000 periodicals, books, and other resource materials; an community auditorium; a café and reading areas overlooking the park; media resources and equipment; wi-fi; gathering spaces, community areas, children and teen study rooms with ample seating, and specialized rooms for group endeavors; plus an emphasis on retail-like display shelving, an increased use of technologies aimed to be user friendly.
The Design architects at glaserworks worked with many fine collaborators in the design of the facility. Programming for the library was completed by both Middletown Library and its consultant, Michaels Associates (Scottsdale, Arizona). Our local library consultant was Michelle Guilette, of Interior Solutions Group.
THP Limited provided Structural Engineering and KLH Engineers providing Mechanical and Electrical Design for the project. Civil Engineering was provided by M+E Engineering.