VINTON–Ground was broken on the new Vinton Public Library project in April 2014. The ribbon was cut for the grand opening on November 18, 2015.
Board of Supervisors Chairman Jason Peters noted in this week’s State of the County address that “the new Vinton library will take its place as a focal point for learning and family enrichment within our exceptional library system.”
The new library is 23,000 square feet in size—over double that of the old building on Washington Avenue which occupied 9,400 square feet.
“The current Vinton Branch Library was built in 1969 and is the oldest in the system,” said Diana Rosapepe, Roanoke County’s Director of Library Services. “It has served for over 46 years and is now well past its prime. We think this new building will redefine what a library means to the many who come here.”
HBM Architects of Cleveland, Ohio, were chosen as architects for the project. They also designed the South County and Glenvar libraries, in addition to over 250 libraries around the nation.
Avis Construction in Roanoke is the general contractor. They have been given high marks by those involved for keeping the project moving and for their foresight as it progressed.
Mayor Brad Grose has been fond of saying that he has “felt the Lord’s blessing” on the Vinton Library project since its inception, with details falling into place.
Blessed with fortuitous weather in the early stages of construction, the library was under roof in a timely fashion enabling the project to proceed mostly on schedule, opening within 18 months from the time the former Dunman Florist building was demolished in the spring of 2014.
The Town of Vinton invested $625,000 to buy the Dunman and Peters property where the library is located, partnering with Roanoke County who paid the other half of the cost. Roanoke County is shouldering the cost of the construction of the building.
The new library, built on the block surrounded by Pollard Street, Cleveland Avenue, Maple Street, and Jackson Avenue, just across the street from the Vinton Municipal Building, has many state-of-the art technologies and environmentally-friendly features.
Input was sought from local residents in several public meetings with the architects and Roanoke County before the library was designed by HBM. Former Board of Supervisors Chairman Mike Altizer, who was instrumental in the actualization of the Vinton library project, described the public meetings as a “key part of the process in helping the libraries become a reflection of the communities they serve.”
The library space is filled with 42 public computers–more than double what was present in the old library. There are separate teen and children’s areas, monitored by a sophisticated surveillance camera system. There are numerous cameras strategically located both within and outside the building.
The new library has only two public access entrances—the main entrance from the parking lot and another on the mezzanine level. This allows the staff to better monitor the comings and goings in and out of the building. The outdoor security cameras have a memory of 30 days.
One of the outstanding features of the new library is the sight distance for staff to monitor all areas of the building, along with the security camera output which can be viewed constantly from the staff workroom. There is a glass rail along the mezzanine overlooking the lower level which allows patrons to view the children’s, teens, and adult areas of the building.
There is a 100-seat dividable meeting room, an eight seat conference room, and two study rooms.
According to a press release from Roanoke County Public Library, the new facility includes a small business center and The Studio—a “makerspace” which “will offer the community access to emerging technologies, devices that convert personal media formats, and software for artistic expression.”
The makerspace will include a 3-D printer, an LP converter, a VHS/DVD converter, a cricut machine, and a pen and touch tablet. The library will not charge to use the space, but it must be reserved in advance with a nominal charge for consumables.
The new library features a drive-through book return and pick-up window and a covered drop-off near the entrance. There are two self check-out stations for patrons.
There is parking onsite and added diagonal parking on Pollard and Cleveland with handicapped parking onsite and on Jackson Avenue behind the library near the ramp to the mezzanine level—about 76 spaces in all. That’s about triple the parking available at the old library—which was always an issue, especially for children’s and family programs.
The Vinton Library has many amenities requested by citizens at the initial public meetings including a coffee shop with indoor and rooftop patio seating. Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee Company will be opening soon serving fair trade coffee.
There are indoor and outdoor fireplaces on the mezzanine level and large video screens inside and out. The views from the rooftop extend to Mill Mountain and downtown Roanoke and over look a “green roof.”
The interior is amazingly bright with large windows fritted for energy-conservation and light-filtering on the sunny side of the building. There is comfortable furniture, striking in appearance, along with a variety of equally eye-catching light fixtures. Even the elevator is bright and well-lit.
An LED message wall is located at the corner of Pollard and Cleveland.
“This is an exciting time for Roanoke County and the Town of Vinton,” said Peters. “Roanoke County is adding another state-of-the-art library to replace an outdated facility. The Town of Vinton will benefit from having a full-feature contemporary library in its downtown corridor.”
Richard Caywood, Assistant County Administrator and Project Leader noted that, “The citizens of Vinton knew what they wanted in their new library and we are giving it to them. We can’t wait to welcome everyone in.”