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Palm Coast Tuesday, Jun. 29, 2021 2 months ago

Proposed new county library to feature community meeting space, vaccination site

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Other ideas include a cafe, outdoor stage and technology classroom.
by: Jonathan Simmons News Editor

Flagler County's new southern library branch won't be just a library.

"The architect is following directions to try to give us what we call a prototypical library of the future, and that’s going to look a lot different than traditional warehouses for books."

 

— JERRY CAMERON, county administrator

Instead, County Administrator Jerry Cameron said at a County Commission meeting June 21, it will be a community gathering place with a facility for vaccination and pandemic testing. 

"The architect is following directions to try to give us what we call a prototypical library of the future," Cameron said, "and that’s going to look a lot different than traditional warehouses for books."

The library branch, which will replace the existing Bunnell library branch on Moody Boulevard and will be constructed near the county's Government Services Center and Emergency Operations Center off Commerce Parkway, will also feature a "forum for the arts" and for technology education, Cameron said.

The public health portion of the building would be designed to allow for flow-through testing and vaccination, he said, while another portion could be converted into an emergency voting center. 

"We could make sure that people could exercise their right to vote without being afraid of being affected," he said.

The County Commission at the June 21 meeting unanimously approved a contract with Rhodes & Brito Architects for an amount not-to-exceed $42,116 for architectural and engineering services.

A county staff document summarizing the agreement in the backup documentation for the June 21 meeting refers to the planned library as the "Flagler County Library Administrative Headquarters and Bunnell Branch and Public Health Mitigation and Prevention Center." 

To be built on 4.8 acres near a planned new Sheriff's Operations Center, the proposed library would become the center of the county library system's administrative functions, which are currently run from the main branch on Palm Coast Parkway.

Minutes from county staff's meetings with the architectural firm indicate that the county expressed interest in the creation of a one-story building of about 16,000 to 20,000 square feet, with study rooms and a "maker space" technology classroom, an outdoor stage, a commercial kitchen, a youth services area, a meeting place featuring theater-style seating, a drive-through book drop-off and pickup window, a showering facility, and potentially a cafe/food court.

Staff also indicated that they'd like the building to be able to serve as an emergency shelter. 

Book stacks would be moveable on tracks, circulation services would occurs largely through self-serve kiosks, and the library, like the one in Palm Coast, would also feature a passport photo center.

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