“What a day,” said San Diego County District 2 Supervisor Dianne Jacob, addressing a crowd at the groundbreaking of the new Ramona Community Library. “Today is one for the books, literally.”
The groundbreaking ceremony, held Monday morning, featured several speakers, all involved in the process of bringing a new library to Ramona.
Jacob said it was at least 10 years ago when the community came to her and said, “Dianne, we need a new library.”
According to Jacob, the library will be the second largest library in the second supervisorial district; second to El Cajon but larger than Poway. She added that the Ramona library will have several features that the other county libraries don’t have, including the largest community room.
“Getting to this day I would describe it much like a novel,” said Jacob, chair of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors. “There were twists and turns, setbacks, difficulties, but the story of the new Ramona library has a happy ending—a beautiful new library.”
The heroes and heroines of the story are the Friends of the Ramona Library, she added, mentioning Friends President Elyse Kuhn.
“President Elyse Kuhn deserves a lot of credit for never giving up,” Jacob said.
She also recognized Joan Gansert who was chairperson of the fundraising committee.
Jose Aponte, director of the San Diego County Library, referred to the county library as “the busiest library in San Diego as measured by circulation.”
Aponte noted awards and recognitions that the library has received. He has been recognized as librarian of the year for state of California.
“Our goal is to build the best public library in the United States,” said Aponte.
Jacob said the Ramona library project will blaze new trails as it will meet LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold criteria and include water-efficient landscaping, water-conserving fixtures, photovoltaic panels and parking spaces for fuel-efficient vehicles.
The library is a design-build project, Jacob said, with the construction team working with the architectural team. Philip Pape, architect and vice president of Ferguson, Pape, Baldwin Architects, and Manuel Oncina of Manuel Oncina Architects Inc. have worked with representatives from C.W. Driver, the construction firm.
Joe Grosshart, vice president of C.W. Driver, noted that building the library will help provide jobs. He estimated the project will employ 25 to 30-some contractors and probably 200 to 300 people.
Also speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony were April Heinze, director of San Diego County Department of General Services; Elyse Kuhn, president, Friends of the Ramona Library; Dick Wayman, president, Library Friends of San Diego County; architects Philip Pape and Manuel Oncina; and Lisa Auerbach, representing the Auerbach family, a major donor.
The new library at Main and 13th streets will be 20,894 square feet, four times larger than the existing library on Montecito Road and will be the cornerstone of Ramona Intergenerational Community Center (RICC) planned for the site. The large, intergenerational campus will eventually include a senior center, childcare and teen facilities. The campus will connect to the Santa Maria Greenway Park.
The $11.6 million library is being funded mostly by the County of San Diego with more than $1 million coming from the Friends of the Ramona Library for fixtures and furniture.
Wayman said Friends of the Library started major fundraising in 2002 and received donations from 600 contributors.
The Southwest Tuscan-style building will feature a Great Room that will be 26 feet high and flooded with light. It will include a spacious community room, study rooms, a space for teens, a large children’s area with a homework center, public computers and a Friends of the Library bookstore.
The library is targeted to open December 2010. Library services will continue in the existing library at 1406 Montecito Road until the new branch opens.