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The library is seeking community feedback to help guide future improvements. Courtesy photo
Escondido Public Library. Courtesy photo
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Escondido hires firm to design library renovations

ESCONDIDO — The city recently hired a firm for $747,000 to design the library’s renovations.

IDS Group will be responsible for architectural design and engineering services to complete the Escondido Library Critical Infrastructure and Modernization Project. 

Housed in a 40,000-square-foot building constructed in 1980, the Escondido Public Library is the only library location in a city with more than 150,000 people. Like many other cities throughout the state, sufficient funding has not been available to maintain the library properly.

The building has three known roof leaks and seeping windows during storms with high winds. According to staff, a significant issue will likely impact library operations in the next three to five years if the roof and window issues go unaddressed. 

Other essential infrastructure components, including HVAC systems, lighting, water-damaged ceilings, cracked floor tiles, and non-compliant ADA accessibility, must also be fixed or upgraded.

The Budget Act of 2021 gave the California State Library $439 million in one-time funds to address critical infrastructure and maintenance needs in public libraries throughout the state, prioritizing those in areas with higher poverty rates. The city applied for the grant and was awarded $10 million in 2022.

According to staff, design services will study the roof, which has exceeded its lifespan and still leaks despite multiple repairs, to be replaced where necessary. The project will also replace seven aging rooftop HVAC systems, which have experienced major failures that affected operations in the library — a designated cool zone for areas during extreme heat waves.

Regarding addressing ADA compliance, the project will mainly focus on upgrading the first-floor restrooms.

Project Manager Laura McLin noted aesthetic features on the first floor, including lighting, painting, flooring, wayfinding signs and space layout as funding allows. 

Last July, the city awarded a $798,000 consulting services agreement with Griffin Structures for project and construction management services for the project’s duration. The firm conducted the project’s initial phase with a facility condition assessment of the library building and document drafting for design services.

IDS Group was then chosen out of eight firms that applied to an October request for proposals from the city to lead the design services portion of the library project.

The city hopes to move the project along swiftly to use the grant funds before its March 2026 deadline.

“The major overarching goal is hitting our term deadline for the grant,” McLin said.

The project manager explained that the project’s pace will be determined once construction begins and crews start work. During this process, more critical issues may be uncovered.

“Things can move based on a variety of incidents, but the hope is to try to stick to that schedule as close as possible so that we make sure we don’t go over the term deadline,” McLin said.

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