▶️ Redmond eyes library expansion; options include razing or renovating historic building

By ANYSSA BOHANAN
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY

The Deschutes Public Library Board has plans to expand all its libraries, including the Redmond branch, currently housed in Redmond’s historic first school – built in 1929.

But after more than 20 years in its current home, library officials say it’s started to outgrow the space.

“The growth of the community has surpassed what we can do there,” said Library Director Todd Dunkelberg. “It’s designed to be a great library for a community of about 20,000 people, but we’re looking at Redmond being up close to 40.000 people within the next 15-20 years.”

Architects have been working for months on a plan to expand the library and they’ve come up with a couple of options. One, renovate the current building. Or two, tear it down and build a new one.

“People are very excited about what they could get with a new building, a two-story, 40,000-square-foot building would have a very big impact on,” Dunkelberg said. 

At that size, it would be double the size of the current location and larger than Bend’s current downtown Bend library.

But not everyone is quite so excited about the proposed changes.

“We’d love to see the building renovated but then again there’s a another layer to that, what does a renovation look like?” asked Charles Rucker, chairman of the Redmond Historic Landmarks Commission. “If we put another floor on top of a historic building, does it still seem historic?”

Rucker says he’d like library officials to consider another option: Build a new library somewhere else.

“There’s a lot of opportunity when it comes to the Midtown area of town to maybe put a library there,” Rucker said. “I just hope that the Deschutes Library System considers talking to the city and other partners to make sure we have the best fit going forward.”

Once Deschutes Public Library officials receive conceptual designs from architects in April, the library board will make a decision on whether or not to move forward with the recommendations and then find out how to fund it, possibly sending a bond to voters in November.

“It would double what we could do, it could expand what we could do and really serve people,” Dunkelberg said.

There are a couple of upcoming events where the public can weigh in on the proposed library and meet the architects behind the project.

Meet the Architects – Envisioning the Library’s Future
 Thursday, January 30, 2020 @ 12:00 PM
 Downtown Bend Public Library – Brooks Room

Meet the Architects – Envisioning the Library’s Future
 Thursday, January 30, 2020 @ 6:00 PM
 Bend – 10 Barrel Eastside Pub

Preview the library’s vision plan at: https://www.deschuteslibrary.org/about/visionprocess

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