Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Slow, Sad Waltz of the New Shaw Library

The new Waltha T. Daniels-Shaw Library continues to sputter through redesign after redesign in attempts to cut costs while remaining on schedule. After scrapping their first plans and start date (due to interference with a nearby Metro line and an overabundance of ground water), citizens were not pleased when their new and improved branch did not open in 2006. A full two years later, local blogs and librarians alike went ballistic this July when the District unveiled its' second round of tweaked concept art that looked mysteriously like...the old Waltha T. Daniels-Shaw Library. You know, the concrete box that they had paid to demolish.

Given that that same month, Mayor Fenty timidly announced the District was considering keeping all libraries closed on Friday through Sunday due to budgetary constraints, most were ready to assume that any plans for a new Shaw library were going to come to dead stop or, at the very least, be drastically curtailed. There was a light at the end of the tunnel, however, when the mayor did a 180 and announced on August 4th that the city had re-appropriated $2 million in order to keep the city’s libraries up-and-running and (gasp) open seven days a week. Of course, that didn’t stop city spokespeople from opining about “rising material and transportation costs” in the same breath as “Shaw” and “library.”

On August 16th, residents led by the Shaw Library Study Group came together to voice their disapproval with the two year delay at a “Speak Out and Read In” in front of a neighborhood Giant supermarket. Now comes word that yet another set of designs and schematics (and compromises?) will be unveiled on Thursday, September 4th at the interim library currently serving Shaw - the fourth such “community design meeting” to take place since last year.

The DC public library homepage claims that the constant back and forth on the design and funding issues has delayed their current timetable by only 6 to 8 weeks and that construction is still planned to begin this coming fall with a planned completion date somewhere in early 2010. Here’s to hoping that this doesn’t become yet another neglected Ward 2 landmark (we're looking at you, Howard Theater and Wonder Bread factory) that fails to get the treatment it deserves.


Mr. Q on Aug 26, 2008, 4:40:00 PM said...

Shaw = Delays and lip service from DC gov't...

How many projects are "in the pipeline" and "breaking ground next year"???

Just look to the comments from your August 21st post on Kelsey Gardens/Addison Square...or how about Radio One? Sorry to sound cynical but I'm not going to be surprised when there's a few "hiccups" along the way for the "CityMarket at O" either...

Vote for Cary Silverman on September 9th...

P.S. How's Shiloh doing on fixing up those vacant buildings???

Anonymous said...

Nice to read something pithy, with a touch of sarcasm but not overdone. Keep it coming, Hunter, whoever you are.....

Anonymous said...

I am pleased to report that at a meeting I attended this afternoon in Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans' office, at which DC Public Library director Ginnie Cooper, architect Peter Cook, and members of Evans' and Cooper's staff were present, the latest design for the new Shaw library was presented and once again, the building's facades are all glass.

Cooper is to be thanked for listening to the community's concerns and working with the architects to ensure the transparency that was so lauded when the initial design was presented in January was restored. The cost savings that will allow the building to be constructed as envisioned resulted from the use of frosted glass instead of the more expensive channel glass. I saw samples of the proposed glass and am confident that the dramatic transparency portrayed in the original renderings of the building will be achieved. The building can be built for the $9.5 Million budgeted.

According to Cooper and her team, ground will be broken for the new library this fall, possibly in October. Preconstruction work will begin on the site shortly. The building is scheduled to be completed in December 2009. The library, after being outfitted and having staff trained, is scheduled to open in March 2010.

I would like to thank Councilmember Evans for his support of the community's insistence that the jewel-like quality of the new building be achieved. His active engagement on this neighborhood issue is illustrative of his deep commitment to our neighborhood and helps explain why he enjoys such substantial loyalty from Shaw residents.

I would also like to thank the many residents of Shaw who signed petitions and told me to stand firm and insist that the new library be built as presented to the community. Your activism helped to make the reversal of DCPL's position possible. Thanks also to the DC Library Renaissance Project's Shaw Library Study Group for their support.

Please plan to attend the final design meeting for the new Watha T. Daniel/Shaw Neighborhood Library on Thursday, September 4, 2008, at 6:30 PM at the interim Watha T. Daniel/Shaw Neighborhood Library, 945 Rhode Island Avenue, NW, to see the final designs.

—Alexander M. Padro
Commissioner, ANC 2C01

Anonymous said...

[[ please send to your lists, contacts, Ward 2 neighbors ]]

DC Public Library is about to build you a 20th Century library that you will have to be content with for the next 60 years... please consider getting involved now before it's too late.

~The Shaw Library Study Group (SLSG)


The Shaw Library Study Group invites YOU to attend a pre-library design meeting TOMORROW, Thursday, August 28 at Old Dominion Brew House, 6:30PM.

Come out for sprites and bites and meet with other Ward 2 residents who will be gearing up for the so-called final library design meeting on September 4.

WHAT: Pre-Library Design Planning Meeting
WHEN: Thursday, August 28, 6:30-8:30pm
WHERE: Old Dominion Brew House, 1219 9th Street, NW DC
WHY: Planning for the September 4 DCPL-hosted "final" design meeting
RSVP: Chris O. 202-536-4065, dclibrarydynamo@rushpost.com

We have seen from Commissioner Alex Padro that he met with CM Evans,
Chief Librarian Cooper and the architects about the glass issue in the
new Shaw Library >>

Apparently the glass is back although it's not on the DC Public Library website. Unlike the glass, the process is still very opaque.

Additionally there are still several amenities that Ward 2 residents
have repeatedly asked for and want in their new 21st Century library.
Some of these include:

* A green roof (the rumor is that this was shelved?)
* Active green technologies, like solar, wind, etc.
* An area of the library dedicated to seniors... like a seniors resource center.
* Dedicated training labs for adult literacy and computer literacy.
* Much better security measures and library floor layouts.
* And, where is the line-item budget for our new Shaw library!

Check out the floor programming here >>


WHAT: Pre-Library Design Planning Meeting
WHEN: Thursday, August 28, 6:30-8:30pm
WHERE: Old Dominion Brew House, 1219 9th Street, NW DC
WHY: Planning for the September 4 DCPL-hosted "final" design meeting
RSVP: Chris O. 202-536-4065, dclibrarydynamo@rushpost.com


* Check out the Shaw Library evolution over past 7 months >>

* ANC-2C Declaration on the poor library process >>

* SLSG Spring Survey Results >>

* Shaw residents and employees at Board of Library Trustees meeting >>

* SLSG Open Letter to Mayor about BoLT

* Article from about a year ago regarding the Interim Shaw Library >>


mocha mayhem on Aug 29, 2008, 4:35:00 PM said...

. . . it's "Watha", not "Waltha".


DCmud - The Urban Real Estate Digest of Washington DC Copyright © 2008 Black Brown Pop Template by Ipiet's Blogger Template