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Borrego Springs Library Project Expands Horizons and Community Enrichment

Rendering of the new Borrego Springs Library courtesy of RNT Architects.

Borrego Springs in San Diego County, California, is a small town surrounded by 600,000 acres of the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. The town’s year-round population of about 3,500 doubles during the winter months with an influx of seasonal residents and visitors. The area is revered worldwide for its magnificent desert wildflowers that bloom from February through April and is recognized as a designated "international dark sky" area, making it a popular destination for astronomers. Because of the town’s strict outdoor lighting ordinances, there are no stop lights in town and other lighting is kept to a minimum to protect the views of the night sky.

The Borrego Springs community is bolstered by shops and restaurants, golf courses, and a branch of the San Diego County Library. The Borrego Springs Library currently occupies a 3,787-square-foot leased facility that has been a central gathering place for the community. The County and community leaders recently determined that the library was in need of expansion and modern upgrades to meet the growing needs of the community. They sought input from residents through a public involvement process, resulting in consensus on a new 13,500-square-foot library, a 1,700-square-foot sheriff’s substation, and a 16-acre community park.

The new library will be three times larger than its predecessor and is designed to reflect the surrounding environment and serve as a community hub that provides access to technology, gathering space, and opportunities to engage in civic enrichment activities. The new library will feature a children’s area, a teen space with homework center, a technology center with a computer lab and study room, comfortable lounge seating, a conference area, and a café.

The sheriff’s substation will be adjacent to the new library. The new facility will house staff workstations, a secured reception area, a secured intake area with a temporary holding cell, an evidence processing area, general storage area, a weapons safe, and a restroom.

The 16-acre community park will be located directly across from the library and will include recreational, sports, meditation, and picnic areas; an amphitheater; an observatory; sport courts; a dog park; shade pavilions and structures; desert vegetation; water fountains/misters; and trails. The park was designed to implement low impact development standards and sustainable design practices, and to be efficient and easy to maintain while withstanding the desert heat, high winds, and blowing dust.

The design-build team includes BNBuilders and Roesling Nakamura Terada (RNT) Architects. As a subconsultant to RNT Architects, BergerABAM provided survey and civil engineering services for the library, sheriff’s substation, and community park. The project included design of all site infrastructure; surface parking and hardscape; and associated work for a gravity sewer system, domestic and fire water supply, and off-site improvements, including public improvement plans for site frontages on the main boulevards. BergerABAM also provided Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan documentation, Federal Emergency Management Agency flood control modifications, and bid and construction support services.

The project is on track to achieve LEED Gold and Zero Net Energy (ZNE) certifications. ZNE ensures that the energy needed to operate the facility is completely offset by the energy saved through sustainability measures. Groundbreaking commenced in October 2017, and the new facilities are expected to be open to the public later this year.