Library Moves Forward with Plans to Expand Libraries Across Deschutes County
Posted By: Tina Walker Davis
Date Posted: 7/15/2020
The Deschutes Public Library Board has approved finalizing the purchase of land for a future Central Library, taking another important step forward in the library’s capital plan to expand and enhance library buildings and services across Deschutes County.
The 12.75-acre parcel is being purchased for $1,350,000 and is located west of Highway 20 near Robal Road. The land was originally purchased by the Gumpert family in 1948.
“After six months of careful analysis with the help of Brooks Resources and their team of experts, we feel this is an important and proactive step toward ensuring Deschutes Public Library’s ability to keep pace with the county’s projected growth,” said Martha Lawler, Deschutes Public Library Board President.
Library Director Todd Dunkelberg said that after six months of due diligence, it was clear that the land purchase is a fiscally wise move. “The location meets all of our top criteria,” he said. “It is centrally and easily accessible from all areas of the county and is located near neighborhoods, schools, shopping and other important services. It’s difficult to find a large enough land parcel that meets all those requirements, so we feel confident about moving forward with this purchase.”
The Library, which has no bonded indebtedness, will pay cash for the land and incur no debt.
When approving the land purchase, the Library Board also approved moving forward with a countywide bond measure as part of the November 2020 election. The $195 million bond will finance the construction of a Central Library, repair and remodel existing libraries in Downtown Bend, La Pine, Sisters and Sunriver and double the size of the existing Redmond Library. This is the Library’s first request for funding in 22 years.
The planned Central Library will serve all of Deschutes County, including a state-of-the-art learning center for children, flexible gathering spaces for a variety of purposes from business meetings/collaboration to study rooms for students to DIY activities, a technology hub and a performance and art space. The building will expand the space needed for additional books and materials to meet population growth and provide increased efficiency with a centralized materials handling system that will allow rapid distribution of materials throughout the county. Conceptual plans for the building have been developed in response to input from more than 5,000 county residents over the past several years. The new building will include flexible spaces to adapt to different use patterns and needs.
“Our communities are facing strange and difficult times,” Dunkelberg said. “In hard times, the library has always been the place Deschutes County residents turn to when they need answers and information that can change and enrich their lives, from connection to employment and health resources, small business and legal information, family activities and, of course, resources for learning and entertainment. We believe we must continue to be sound fiscal stewards as we plan and prepare for a dynamic future to serve all of Deschutes County as we have done for the last 100 years.”
Preview the library’s vision plan at: https://www.deschuteslibrary.org/about/visionprocess