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The New Morgan Hill Library

The new Morgan Hill Library was substantially completed in mid-May 2007 and was officially opened on 21 July 2007. It has a floor area of approximately 28,000 square feet, nearly twice the size of the old 16,000 square foot, 1970s-era facility at 17575 Peak Avenue.

The building is framed in steel with a plaster and stone skin, and an architectural-grade metal roof. It includes a new lobby area with a dramatic entrance and special display space. The main reading room is framed with a series of graceful trusses and is lit by skylights and tall window bays, the largest one offering an expansive view of El Toro to the west. The library also features a soft seating area in the children's section where families can read together, an expanded international language area, a new magazine reading area, a glass-walled group study room, a dividable multi-purpose room for program use, a bookstore, local history space, and expanded computer areas featuring wired workstations and wireless network access. Behind-the-scenes work areas for the library staff were expanded and enhanced with an automated book return and sorting system. It is designed for wheelchair accessibility via gently sloping ramps from its larger at-grade parking lot and nearby walkways. Landscaping includes the Civic Center plaza which features seating and contemplative reading areas. The new facility continues to be operated by the Santa Clara County Library system.

The need for a larger library was identified by residents in a series of community meetings in the late 1990s. Several sites were considered, including the Morgan Hill downtown area, but due to organized efforts by a group of city residents, the current site at the southwest corner of the Civic Center plaza was chosen. As originally envisioned, the library would have been 40,000 square feet in size, but plans were scaled back to the current 28,000 square feet due to budget limitations, with design provisions for future expansion. A pond that existed to the northwest of City Hall was filled in and replaced with a circular Civic Green; this area may eventually be replaced by a fountain when funds become available.

The new library was completed on schedule, about one year from the start date. The construction of the library was funded by the Redevelopment Agency. Additional funding for artworks was provided by the Friends of the Morgan Hill Library. The City of Morgan Hill provided furniture.

Architect: Noll & Tam
Construction Manager: TBI Construction & Construction Management, Inc.
Project Construction Budget: $19,000,000
Project Completion: May 2007
Project Opening: 21 July 2007
Project funding: Redevelopment Agency of Morgan Hill

Rendering of the new Morgan Hill Library by Robert Becker of Noll & Tam Architects