Community Meeting Process Notes

In winter 2014, an architect was chosen for the renovation of the Jamaica Plain Branch Library.  On March 7th, the Board of Commissioners validated Utile as the firm who will work on the renovation.

The Design Phase Kick-Off meeting was held Wednesday, April 9th at 6:00pm.  About 50 people attended the meeting to hear more from the architects on their vision for the project, their observations thus far and the proposed schedule for the design process.   There was lots of discussion about the renovation -- excellent community input for the process. City Councillor Matt O'Malley attended the meeting and announced a revised figure in the new Mayor's budget (issued that day) for the JP Branch renovation project of $10M!

The second community meeting was held on Wednesday, May 21st at 6pm at the JP Branch Library.  Three preliminary concepts were presented. 

The third community meeting was held on Monday, August  4th at 6pm.  Utile has created a 'massing design' for the addition and a proposed plan for interior spaces. They need to meet with the Massachusetts Historical Commission to get their approval.  The addition works to keep sight lines to the historic section of the Branch and Curtis Hall clear.  The Sedgwick Street entrance leads to a 'reading porch'.  Documents showing the design are posted on the BPL Capital Projects page.  Christine Schonhart did mention the expected loss of books, as with alterations, the shelves will hold about 30,000 volumes.

The fourth community meeting was held on Wednesday, November 12th at 6pm.  The revised design plans were presented with scaled back spaces and reconfigurations based on the budget.   A preliminary schedule was announced: the Branch will likely close in the summer of 2015 and be closed for 18-24 months.  The Friends plan to advocate with the Mayor and City Councillors for an increase in the budget to cover the full design if that becomes necessary.

The fifth community meeting was held on Wednesday, March 25th at 6pm.  The final design for the renovation and addition was reviewed. It includes the reading porch on Sedgwick St! A model of the addition was on display. Ideas for interior details (lighting, furniture, etc.) were discussed and those will be finalized by the next meeting (June).  The closing date is official - 8/1/2015.  The construction phase is projected to last for 18-24 months.  The community asked about forming an art taskforce and also for plans to have programming in Curtis Hall during the closure -- the BPL said they would address those concerns at the final community meeting. 

The sixth (and final) community meeting will be held on Tuesday, June 23rd at 6pm.This meeting will be an opportunity to update the JP community on the programs planned during the temporary closure, the timeline for construction, and the additional work done to date to get to the latest cost estimate. It's also time to start to gather some ideas for the groundbreaking ceremony just prior to construction starting.

Even though this was the last design meeting, public feedback will continue to be welcome throughout the renovation project via phone, email, letters, posts on the Compass blog etc.