The community's 18-year-old library is getting a facelift. James H. LaRue library, 9292 S. Ridgeline Blvd., Highlands Ranch, will be closed from Dec. 19 until April 1, while areas of the interior are …
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The community's 18-year-old library is getting a facelift.
James H. LaRue library, 9292 S. Ridgeline Blvd., Highlands Ranch, will be closed from Dec. 19 until April 1, while areas of the interior are gutted and new features are added.
At completion, the library will resemble Douglas County Libraries locations in Parker, Lone Tree and Castle Pines, which have been built or undergone renovations in the last two years.
“When we open the door, people walk in and there is a discovery around every corner,” said Rick O'Dell, facilities manager at Douglas County Libraries, who is heading the Highlands Ranch project. “The cool thing about what we are designing now is we can improve and evolve this as trends change.”
Based on feedback from patrons and library employees, the $6.5 million project will add more space to the second floor to accommodate public events with more than 300 guests. Book collections will be spread out and study rooms and nooks will be added.
The downstairs ceilings will be raised to 11 feet. And the disk-shaped lighting hanging from the ceilings will be replaced with sleek, LED lighting to open up the space.
Movable, glass walls will be added to add natural lighting. Outdated bookshelves will be replaced with sharp, white shelves and separated into genres on the second floor and kid-friendly topics on the first floor, which will have a dedicated room for story time. Currently, storytime is held in an open room while other activities take place.
The brick fireplace on the first floor will be replaced with modern, steel furnishings. Interactive features, such as a light bright in the main entrance, will be added. The walls will have pops of gray, burnt orange and light shades of teal.
“They give it a nice open feel,” Amber DeBerry, director of community relations at Douglas County Libraries, said. “You can really feel the light come through the building with those colors.”
O'Dell is working with Fransen Pittman General Contractors, based out of Englewood, and OPN Architects, based out of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The project is a “very aggressive three-month and two-week undertaking,” O'Dell said.
They picked the time period because the library tends to be slower during the first quarter of the year and the availability for contractors is higher, O'Dell said.
While many residents are excited about the renovation, some say they wish the project had been done over the summer.
“I think it's amazing that they're doing it. It's already a great library and hard to imagine it being better,” resident Brenda Kendrick said. “That said, wish they would've done it at a warmer time of year. The library is a favorite winter destination for my kids when it's too cold for outdoor play, so losing that is a major bummer.”
Other Douglas County libraries are within close radius. Lone Tree Library, 10055 Library Way, is roughly seven miles from James H. LaRue. Castle Pines library is about 11 miles away. Parker Library is about 17 miles in distance.
Starting Jan. 2, morning storytimes will be held Monday through Friday at Westridge Recreation Center, 9650 Foothills Canyon Blvd., in Highlands Ranch.
While the library is closed, nine of its employees will remain in the building, managing book drop-offs and pickups. The remaining employees will be dispersed to other Douglas County Libraries locations, according to O'Dell.
During the three-month closure, residents can still use the book drop-off located on the north side of the building. Recently completed, the roundabout adjacent to the drop-off has been expanded to make it more accessible to cars.
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