The city will also seek public input on other possible uses for the library, such as housing or a new City Council chambers.
At the first meeting, representatives from Noll & Tam, the architectural consulting firm that conducted a previous study about the library's space needs, spoke about the pros and cons of building the new library on the current site, and of relocating it closer to Laurel Street.
With the latter option, the city would save some money by avoiding having to set up an interim library space during construction, since the current structure would remain in place. But the new library could encroach on the current council chambers' footprint and displace the Menlo Children's Center.
Child care to stay
In recent days, several parents of children who attend the Menlo Children's Center emailed the City Council with concerns that the library construction plan could mean the demise of the center. Nora Dunn said she was "extremely disappointed that no one has reached out to me," and said she'd like to have more information about any potential impact the library expansion would have on the children's center.
Menlo Park City ManagerAlex McIntyre confirmed with the Almanac that the city "has no intentions of getting out of the child care business."
"If a library site includes the existing child care center, a new center would be anticipated either as a stand-alone, or more likely integrated into the new library," he said.
The Noll & Tam study determined last March that people in the community generally favor more public meeting spaces, study rooms, a dedicated area for teens and a larger children's area than the current library offers. The study's authors determined that those needs translate into a need for about 11,000 square feet more space than exists at the current library.
The process to build a new library is being expedited, despite the fact that such a project had not been high on the city's priority list, because local billionaire and philanthropist John Arrillaga has offered to cover the building costs of the structure after the first $20 million.
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