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The Pioneer

Hayward main library to be demolished

PHOTO+BY+KRIS+STEWART%2FTHE+PIONEER
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Hayward main library to be demolished

PHOTO BY KRIS STEWART/THE PIONEER

PHOTO BY KRIS STEWART/THE PIONEER

PHOTO BY KRIS STEWART/THE PIONEER

PHOTO BY KRIS STEWART/THE PIONEER

Ana Quintanilla,
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In downtown Hayward century old trees surround the historic main library, some older than the city itself, but that chapter in the library’s history will soon come to a close.

Some of the trees in the plaza today are said to have been planted by Don Castro himself”

“Some of the trees in the plaza today are said to have been planted by Don Castro himself,” said Sean Reinhart, director of Libraries and Community Services for the City of Hayward.

The library is scheduled to be demolished in order to restore the Heritage plaza to its historical state and to construct a new 58,000 square foot library, according to Mayor Pro Tempore Al Mendall. The project was approved May 26 under Hayward Sales Tax Measure C, which passed in 2014 with 67 percent of the vote.

“I’m extremely excited about the whole project,” said Mendall. “The city of Hayward has been trying for more than 20 years to put together a plan to build a new library downtown.”

According to Mendall, the project is estimated to cost $63 million, which will cover the costs of the old library’s demolition and the construction of the new library and the restoration of Heritage Plaza.

The new library will be located on C Street and Mission Boulevard. The building will be 58,000 square feet, three stories tall, and be completely solar powered.

Although the old library will be demolished, the basement will be home to a 200,000 gallon water storage tank that will harvest and reuse 400,000 gallons of rainwater per year. That water will be filtered and used to water all of the plants in the plaza as well as flush all the toilets in the library, explained Reinhart.

Reinhart explained that Heritage Plaza will serve as a place for farmer’s markets, community festivals, food trucks, music and cultural performances, with the goal becoming Hayward’s central plaza.

Despite the majority vote in favor of the project there have been several members in the community who have expressed their opposition to the old library being demolished.

“The old building has value,” said Sherman Lewis, president of the Hayward Area Planning Association. “If the building is not demolished, the money that would have gone to destroy the building can be used to improve it.”

The city council has been urged to consider alternative uses of the building, such as making it a center for history, culture and the arts. In its current state, the building would require costly improvements including asbestos removal, according to Mendall.

The city council has been urged to consider alternative uses of the building, such as making it a center for history, culture and the arts”

“The building is too old, there are too many problems,” said Mendall. “The roof is leaking, the electrical needs to be redone, the plumbing needs to be redone, there is asbestos in the walls. It’s not suitable for expansion or ongoing long term use, it’s just not in good enough condition.”

The Hayward City Council does not plan to revisit the possibility of repurposing the old library building. The groundbreaking celebration for the new library took place this past Saturday, which signified the start of the project.

The estimate for the new library’s completion is winter 2017 and the new Heritage plaza is estimated for completion by summer 2017, according to Mendall.

“There’s only one heritage plaza and this is it. You can’t recreate the history that’s here,” said Reinhart.

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