By Mike McKibbin/NewsBreak Denver
[CASTLE ROCK, CO] Castle Rock will replace the 46-year-old building that's served as its library for 19 years with a larger facility by next summer.
And it will be done — like other recent Douglas County Libraries projects — without voter approval of a bond issue or tax hike.
The independent district is the fourth-largest library system in Colorado, with nearly 1.7 million visitors annually as of 2019.
It has seven locations: Castle Pines, Castle Rock, Highlands Ranch, Lone Tree, Louviers, Parker and Roxborough.
Savings instead of bonds
Executive Library Director Bob Pasicznyuk answered questions about the financing of the Castle Rock project in several emails.
Instead of asking voters to approve funding for new facilities, the district saved money into a capital reserve fund each year. Pasicznyuk said it required about five years of savings to fund the Castle Rock building.
The guaranteed maximum price contract for the building is in the $23 million range. The library board will need to approve approximately $2 million more for furniture, fixtures, equipment, moving services, signage and art this year, Pasicznyuk added.
Pasicznyuk said the district used certificates of participation financing in 2015 to begin its overall building project and get in front of construction inflation.
He noted the board wished to "discipline our expenses and use any increase for capital needs instead of asking voters for more support via a bond."
Pasicznyuk said the advantages of using savings include acting quickly to take advantage of favorable construction market conditions. Disadvantages include it taking longer and the district can lose buying power to inflation.
The funding method still allowed the district to approve annual employee raises for the last seven years, Pasicznyuk said. This year, the board allocated 8% to the overall compensation pool.
To help provide raises, the district relied on managing staff headcount, Pasicznyuk added. Currently, the district is down about 50 people from seven years ago.
"We've reduced our headcount through attrition – no layoffs," he added.
The district also implemented labor-saving technologies, moved some services to digital and relied on managers to achieve efficiencies.
More space, features in new facility
Prompted by growth in the Castle Rock community, the new library will add space and features to serve residents into the future. It also will provide a workspace for the library's district-wide services teams.
According to the district website, the current Castle Rock facility — a Safeway built in 1976 and renovated into a library in 2003 — is about the size of Lone Tree's library, while Castle Rock's population is three times larger than Lone Tree.
The new 62,000 square-foot building will be built in front of the existing library at 100 S. Wilcox St. and will feature about 42,000 square feet of dedicated library space, approximately 220 parking spaces, drive-through book return, interactive children's play space and will continue to house the district's archives, local history and collections.
Construction by Fransen Pittman General Contractors of Englewood will likely require 12-15 months. The district has contracted with OPN Architects of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to design the new library.
The project's first phase kicked off on March 30 when the Castle Rock gazebo was lifted and relocated to the CALF Lowell Ranch three miles south. The district donated the gazebo to the Castle Rock Band for its continued use and community enjoyment.
Construction fences will go up in the west parking lot on April 25, and customer parking will be relocated to the south lot, in front of the adjacent retail center. The existing library will remain open throughout the building process.
A groundbreaking ceremony at 10 a.m. 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.
Visit DCL.org/build to learn more about the building project.