New Castle Rock Library Doesn’t Need Bonds or Tax Hikes | mike mckibbin
By Mike McKibbin/NewsBreak Denver
[CASTLE ROCK, CO] Castle Rock will replace the 46-year-old building that served as a library for 19 years with a larger facility by next summer.
And it will happen — like other recent Douglas County Libraries projects — without voter approval of a bond issue or a tax hike.
The Independent District is the fourth largest library system in Colorado, with nearly 1.7 million visitors annually in 2019.
It has seven locations: Castle Pines, Castle Rock, Highlands Ranch, Lone Tree, Louviers, Parker and Roxborough.
Savings instead of bonds
Library executive director Bob Pasicznyuk responded to questions about funding for the Castle Rock project in several emails.
Instead of asking voters to approve funding for new facilities, the district saved money each year in a capital reserve fund. Pasicznyuk said it took about five years of savings to fund the Castle Rock building.
The guaranteed maximum price contract for the building is in the order of $23 million. The library board will need to approve about $2 million more for furniture, fixtures, equipment, moving services, signage and art this year, Pasicznyuk added.
Pasicznyuk said the district used crowdfunding certificates in 2015 to start its overall construction project and deal with construction inflation.
He noted that the board wanted to “discipline our spending and use any increases for capital needs instead of asking voters for additional support via a bond.”
Pasicznyuk said the benefits of using savings include quick action to take advantage of favorable construction market conditions. Disadvantages include that it takes longer and the district may lose purchasing power due to inflation.
The funding method has always allowed the district to approve annual employee raises for the past seven years, Pasicznyuk said. This year, the board allocated 8% to the overall compensation pool.
To help provide raises, the district relied on workforce management, Pasicznyuk added. Currently, the district has about 50 fewer people than seven years ago.
“We have reduced our workforce through attrition – not layoffs,” he added.
The district has also implemented labor-saving technologies, moved some departments to digital, and relied on managers to achieve efficiencies.
More space, features in the new facility
Spurred on by the growth of the Castle Rock community, the new library will add space and functionality to serve residents in the future. It will also provide a workspace for the library district-wide service teams.
According to the district’s website, the current Castle Rock facility – a Safeway built in 1976 and remodeled into a library in 2003 – is roughly the size of the Lone Tree Library, while Castle Rock’s population is three times larger than that of Lone Tree.
The new 62,000 square foot building will be constructed across from the existing library at 100 S. Wilcox St. and will include approximately 42,000 square feet of dedicated library space, approximately 220 parking spaces, a drive-thru book return , an interactive children’s play space and will continue to house district archives, local history and collections.
Construction by Fransen Pittman General Contractors of Englewood will likely take 12 to 15 months. The district contracted with OPN Architects of Cedar Rapids, Iowa to design the new library.
The first phase of the project began on March 30 when the Castle Rock lookout was lifted and moved to the CALF Lowell Ranch three miles to the south. The district donated the gazebo to the Castle Rock Band for its continued use and community enjoyment.
Construction fencing will be erected in the west parking lot on April 25 and customer parking will be moved to the south lot in front of the adjacent mall. The existing library will remain open throughout the build process.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. on May 2 at the Castle Rock site is open to the public. It will include a light breakfast, coffee and juice, local dignitaries, photo ops, fun activities and more.
To visit DCL.org/build to learn more about the construction project.