Hayward main library nearly complete

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Hayward main library nearly complete

By Shoib Ahmadzai, CONTRIBUTOR

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Hayward’s library of the future, the 21st Century Library, and Community Learning Center, is nearly completed, with a possible grand opening this June.
“It’s a game changer,” Jayanti Addleman, Director of Library Services for the City of Hayward, told The Pioneer. “It’s a beautiful building and a showpiece in technological advancements.”
The building will set new standards concerning environmental sustainability and will be 100 percent carbon-free and self-sufficient, according to the City of Hayward’s press release.
Among its eco-friendly characteristics, the three-story, 58,000 square foot structure is described as “one of the largest net-zero energy public buildings in the country,” the press release added.
It will also feature water conservation through “capturing, filtering and storing rainwater for non-potable uses such as flushing toilets and irrigation.”
In addition, the library is promising new and more computers, a teen center with gaming, virtual and augmented reality equipment, a “makerspace” that includes an audio and video studio, robotics equipment, and even 3D printers, Addleman said.
The new library, located at 888 C St. in Hayward, was first envisioned in 2013 and was estimated to cost $40 million. The library is part of the new “Heritage Plaza,” and the total amount of the project came up to nearly $60 million.
The building was designed by Noll & Tam Architects, a Berkeley architecture firm, according to the firm’s website.
The state-of-the-art facility has been hit by a number of construction delays. Work on the project was suspended on March 15 by the construction contractor, T.B. Penick & Sons, Inc. due to payment disputes regarding sub-contractors, according to the City of Hayward’s website.
“It is unfortunate that due to construction delays we have not yet been able to open,” Hayward Mayor Barbara Halliday told The Pioneer. “I hope the new library and the programs we’ll be offering there will help to make up for having our downtown library closed for so long.”
Other factors also contributed to delays, including revisions to wirings for fire prevention and the building industry having difficulty finding workers, Addleman told The Pioneer.
Two vague opening dates have been provided by the City of Hayward: one before summer and another in June. An opening date is not set at this time.
“So, [it’ll be built] before the 22nd century,” joked Julio Castillo, a retired employee at the Hayward Main Library, in response to the announcement for the library’s new anticipated opening date.
Aside from delays, there is strong support for the new library, built with no significant opposition.
One Hayward resident found the new library to be “awesome.”
“I’ve never been to the library at all, but I would really consider going to this new library,” stated Vargas. ”It sounds like a fun place to go to.”
While the new library was under construction, the old main library was permanently closed on Sept. 1, 2018 and was demolished a few weeks ago.
“The roof [was] leaking, the electrical need[ed] to be redone, the plumbing need[ed] to be redone, there [was] asbestos in the walls. It’s not suitable for expansion or ongoing long term use,” said Hayward Councilmember Al Mendall in an interview with The Pioneer.
While the Main Hayward Library was closed, the Weekes Branch Library, located in 27300 Patrick Ave. in Hayward, was available for those in the city who needed library services.
Despite the old library’s closure, none of its employees were laid off.
“No one lost their job. The people employed at the library simply moved around,” Addleman said. “Some were moved to the Weekes Branch Library and others now work at City Hall.”
The 21st Century Library is funded through two local ballot initiatives–Measures C, and T, active fundraisers and donors, Addleman told The Pioneer.
Measure C raised the majority of the near $60 million needed for the entire project.
Measure C also introduced a .5 percent sales tax increase for Hayward, lasting for 20 years after being passed in 2014. The increased revenue generated went to improving the library and the city.
Measure T, which recently passed in the November 2018 general elections, increases Hayward’s “Real Property Transfer Tax (RPTT) that is collected once upon the purchase or sale of real estate in the City of Hayward,” according to the City of Hayward’s website.
Hayward’s RPTT increased from “$4 per $1,000 of property value to $8.50 per $1,000 of value,” with all of the revenue going to general funds for the city, paying for important services, such as the library, City of Hayward further stated.
While there is no definite opening date, and some residents still anticipate a delay, there is a lot of excitement regarding the new facility.
“Libraries are a community hub, where people can meet, learn and be exposed to new ideas,” said Addleman. “They are core for communities.”