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Peoria Focus Online - 2009, Issue 2

Expanded Library Branch Opens in Northern Peoria

Sunrise Mountain Branch is a High-Tech Community Gathering Place

Peoria cut the ribbon on a new, stand-alone branch library March 7.

Sunrise Mountain Library, at the corner of 98th Avenue and Lake Pleasant Parkway in northern Peoria, replaces the "shared use" branch at Sunrise Mountain High School.

The new Sunrise Mountain Library, at the corner of 98th Avenue and Lake Pleasant Parkway in northern Peoria, replaces the “shared use” branch at Sunrise Mountain High School.

On a nippy spring Saturday morning, children and adults crowded around the entrance as Mesquite District Councilmember Cathy Carlat used a giant pair of scissors to snip the ribbon, assisted by Mayor Bob Barrett.

"The grand opening of the new branch signifies a major increase in services," says David Hunenberg, Peoria’s library manger. "The building is meant not only to be a library but also a community gathering place."

Barrett says the new building – along with the Rio Vista Recreation Center – shows that Peoria "continues to step up and improve" its services to residents.

The branch’s roof line and north side have a slight, almost teasing, nautical theme based upon its proximity to Lake Pleasant. The library has a contemporary layout that features three long galleries, each representing a different and distinct service. Those include separate areas for kids and teens, a community meeting room, two study rooms and separate outdoor courtyards for adults and youths. It’s high tech too, with wireless Internet access, rows of PCs for public use and automated self-checkout kiosks.

"This library brings the community food for thought -- all wrapped up in a creative, high-quality package designed to move with us into the future," says Carlat, in whose district the facility sits. "Inside these walls, connectivity means more than any one source. It means full access to unlimited resources, programs and ideas."

Interior furnishings have a retro, 1970s feel, with soothing colors allowing the artwork to be the focal point.  Hunenberg says this will be nostalgic to some, "cool" to others. "The design begs people to come and stay awhile," he says.

The 22,500-square-foot facility was built from the ground up in a year. The project cost was $11.7 million, with construction accounting for $7.7 million of that. The money came from general obligation bonds, as well as library, park and trail impact fees paid by developers to reflect the incremental cost of expanding city infrastructure to support growth.

City plans call for a park immediately to the north of the library. An elementary school is planned for north of the park.

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