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New library in Costa Mesa’s Lions Park is almost ready for its close-up

Donald Dungan Library
Costa Mesa’s new library in Lions Park will officially open to the public Friday.
(Photo by Luke Money)

After years of waiting through planning, design and construction, Costa Mesa residents will get to check out the city’s new central library in Lions Park on Friday.

The city will cut the ribbon on the reborn Donald Dungan Library with a public celebration including tours of the two-story, 23,355-square-foot building, displays, refreshments and family-friendly activities.

Acting City Manager Tamara Letourneau couldn’t contain a string of superlatives as she led a small group of city staff members through the new library Tuesday morning.

One particular description that kept coming to mind, she said, was “absolutely stunning.”

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“It was always envisioned to be a calm, beautiful, serene space to take a break, learn something, have fellowship,” she said, looking out a second-story window.

“I can’t wait to see the look on the community’s faces when they see the library for the first time,” Letourneau said.

With the opening festivities just around the corner, the expansive space was a flurry of activity Tuesday as workers labored to put on the finishing touches.

Several men prepared to install an electronic media wall near one of the entrances. In a staff room nearby, employees from OC Public Libraries — the system that runs Costa Mesa’s branches — worked to wrap things up.

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Plenty of spaces were ready for patrons. A note affixed to one wall declared “Teen Room done.”

Though it is significantly larger than the former Dungan branch in Lions Park — which measured 8,740 square feet — the new library has a smaller footprint than the old Neighborhood Community Center, which was torn down in 2017. That opened about an extra acre of parkland.

The former library location, which closed in January, will be redeveloped as a community center.

The construction of the new library and conversion of the old site are part of a $36.5-million renovation of Lions Park.

IF YOU GO

What: Donald Dungan Library ribbon-cutting ceremony

When: 10 to 11:30 a.m. Friday

Where: 1855 Park Ave., Costa Mesa

Information: lionsparkprojects.com

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