January 23, 2022

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Excitement spreads as New Canaan Library breaks ground on new building

4 min read

NEW CANAAN — As personnel broke floor on the new library venture previous week, Government Director Lisa Oldham explained she is listening to a “constant refrain of excitement” from the local community.

Library officers had initially needed to crack floor on a new 42,642-sq.-foot modern-day library in June, but that wish was held up because of to phone calls to memorialize the 1913 portion of the making by preservationists. Even the remaining couple of measures to attain good permits took extended than expected, in accordance to Paul Stone, the COO for Karp Associates, the project’s development and contracting company.


But now Stone explained he is “super energized,” for the new library which “will be a hub” for people today.

The $38.5 million undertaking touts a children’s library a few periods the sizing of the present one particular with a dedicated tween part a lot of experiential co-working conference regions and a large residing space with a fire built identical to 1 designed by Harvard Five architect Eliot Noyes.

“I am thrilled to see construction underway,” Initial Selectman Kevin Moynihan mentioned Monday. “I look forward to observing steel in the air by mid-winter and a glass enclosed framework by Spring 2022.”

A big mound of dirt sits on the corner of South Avenue and Cherry Avenue as topsoil is staying piled. Fencing is currently being erected close to the perimeter and a staging region for construction workers is getting cleared at the northwest corner of the Middle School parking great deal.

The new setting up will be designed about the present one particular, with sections from 1913 to 1979. The current library will be utilised until eventually the new one is developed.

The challenge was delayed as the Setting up and Zoning Commission fulfilled 8 occasions to address fears from preservationists who needed to hold the 1913 library. Now, the library is working to meet up with a December deadline imposed by the fee to style a memorial of the antique part of the making.

The New Canaan Preservation Alliance submitted an enchantment in the condition Exceptional Court docket late this summertime on the P&Z decision to continue with the new library. According to the lawsuit, the alliance is trying to get the court docket to “enter an get acquiring the commission’s action in issuing the acceptance to be unlawful and null and void, and directing the fee to deny the applications.”

The enchantment system did not, even so, prohibit the challenge from starting development.

“We will function with Preparing & Zoning and Centerbrook Architects to create options to respectfully and meaningfully preserve parts of the legacy developing,” library Board of Trustees President Robert E. Butman states on the library site, whilst they “determine its place so it is thoughtfully integrated” in the campus.

In August, the Town Council approved $10 million and a financial loan for the project, and then preservationists failed to get sufficient
signatures for a referendum, to stop the use of city cash.

The basis will start out remaining poured up coming thirty day period and steel framework will be created from January to March, Stone reported.

The architectural plan “references modernism” to rejoice the legacy of the Harvard Five Architects, who settled in New Canaan in the 1940s and nonetheless have an influence on architecture, Margaret Russel, the editor-in-chief of Architectural Digest, stated in an on the internet video clip for the library. “(It) navigates anything we have to have for the existing.”

The new library will be “a modern, long term-focused system for community mastering,” Oldham said.

As a person enters the new library, strategies get in touch with for foot website traffic to movement by the concourse, which Oldham phone calls the “heart” of the constructing, acting as a “busy location of link.” There will be an artwork gallery at one particular end of the concourse and a cafe at the other with stairs leading to the expansive dwelling space on the next ground.

The strategies phone for “a wealthy and various understanding ecosystem,” with an “infrastructure for the creativeness,” Oldham stated.

Children’s rooms are built to include things like a cozy tale time home and a mess-proof, carpet-free room with a sink for arts and crafts and STEAM discovering. The textbooks will be also be positioned on a degree the place modest children can have interaction with them.

There will be also nine assembly/review rooms upstairs.

Oldham confirmed designs for a small business middle and a maker-room the place people today with prevalent interests these as pcs, technological innovation, science, digital art can fulfill and collaborate. In addition, a 600 square-foot convention room has been made for a broad vary of learning that will accommodate 35 individuals, different private personal computer hookups and a substantial observe for instruction.

An auditorium on the floor ground will be able to seat 350 men and women and will have “floating” walls, so a amount of smaller meeting rooms can be produced to accommodate nonprofits and other neighborhood businesses. There will also be demonstration kitchen for cooking courses.

“Personally, I am delighted that just after years of exhaustive setting up and tricky work, the New Canaan neighborhood will before long get the New Library they so richly should have,” Oldham reported.

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