Council to consider converting community center to library

The Costa Mesa City Council on Tuesday will consider a proposal to transform the city's Neighborhood Community Center into a large central library.

City staff are recommending that the council approve spending $75,000 to $100,000 to hire an architect to design conversion concepts for the roughly 24,000-square-foot downtown center on Park Avenue.

The job would also include providing a feasibility study, holding community meetings and providing preliminary construction cost estimates, according to city staff.

If finalized, a central library within the repurposed community center would be larger than all three of Costa Mesa's county-run library branches combined β€” Donald Dungan, Mesa Verde and Technology.

The Dungan branch would be made into a meeting space to replace the primary use of the community center next door. City officials said they anticipate only minor building modifications to convert Dungan and the community center.

In March, a month after Mayor Jim Righeimer announced the conversion idea, the county library system paid for an initial conceptual design.

Irvine-based KAL Architects came up with preliminary ideas for the community center space that includes an adult library with study and conference rooms, a teen area, a children's area with movable walls and 12,000 square feet for book stacks, computers and reading.

There would also be a dedicated area for library boosters and a 75-person community room.

Dungan, which was recently renovated, is about 6,900 square feet. According to a city staff report, the Dungan's size and unusual shape limit "the number and types of programs available, as well as the collections and user space." The one-story building, built in 1986, has a children's area, but it's small and not well-suited for activities and programs, city officials said.

If the conversions are approved, staff said, one of the "highest priorities" is relocating or finding space at the Dungan for the 45 groups β€” 35 of which are Costa Mesa-based β€” that rent the community center.

The center was built in 1981. It includes a multipurpose hall, stage, full-service kitchen and several meeting and conference rooms.

Copyright © 2019, Daily Pilot
EDITION: California | U.S. & World