Library expansion would hog energy | AspenTimes.com

Library expansion would hog energy

Dear Editor:

We need a design that fits into the courthouse plaza similar to the existing architecture of the library that complements our iconic historic courthouse and its plaza structures rather than serve as an architect’s signature piece, as our proposed library addition does.

It is unfortunate that after last summer’s focus groups gathered at the library to give their input on having a more appropriate design fit in contextually to its surroundings, the library board and its paid consultants have chosen to ignore suggestion after suggestion from the public.

Some of these include making the entire facility carbon-free. Instead, the board has chosen to move forward with various iterations of this 7,000-square-foot addition without solving the problems of having a huge energy hog. Secondly, this canopy, not fitting to its surrounding structures, is too imposing and overwhelming. While the architect has drawn upon the Bayer design, he has forgotten that this is our civic plaza and not the Meadows.

Thirdly, with this soaring canopy, the public would be paying approximately $1,500 a square foot, mostly for unused, undedicated space under the canopy. It’s pricey when it comes to public funds, considering it won’t even be used in the winter and an upper-end Starwood home is $800 per square foot to build.

So I ask the paid consultants and architect, why not build the entire new proposed addition on one level, extending out the 60 feet on top of the existing parking garage and cover it with a roof of sodded, green grass?

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With a sodded roof on one level for a new addition, Galena Plaza would not be deceased but would remain the same. It would retain the entire existing public plaza and the existing beautiful views to the north of Red Mountain, Smuggler Mountain, Red Butte and the Rio Grande game field. It would be more cost effective, would be more energy efficient and would fit in beautifully with its surroundings. Just look at what is beneath Union Square in San Francisco. This would be a win-win situation for all.

The slight hill created near the library would slope down to existing grade and could be contoured to serve as an amphitheater, facing east, for Shakespeare in the Park events, and serve as an interactive park, as well as the roof to a new library addition.

Such a plan would eliminate any disruption of the parking garage spaces, and such a plan could even be built after the parking garage remodel.

The library addition should be a place we are all proud of and should be entirely carbon neutral with its design. It could have been an exemplary public facility if only the board and paid consultants had listened to their constituents for these other alternatives. After all, it will be up to the taxpayers to decide.

Junee Kirk

Aspen