The Stark County District Library has released drawings of its planned branch for Jackson Township's North Park. Construction of the new library, an amphitheater and new tennis courts should start later this year.
JACKSON TWP. Several ideas tested in the Stark County District Library's temporary home will be used when a permanent branch is built.
The library has released renderings and floor plans of the new Jackson Township branch being designed by Cleveland-based HBM Architects.
The building will be tied in with a new amphitheater in North Park along Fulton Drive NW. Expanded tennis courts, including an area with seating for Jackson High School tennis matches, are part of the project.
Although tied together, the three projects are independent of each other. Construction is expected to start later this year and continue through 2019. Stark County's Planning Commission approved a site plan for the project during its monthly meeting last week.
The new facilities are in a space bounded by Fulton Drive, Community Parkway and the township's safety center. The library district originally built a branch at the site during the 1990s. That building closed in 2016 and was demolished last year. The township will relocate basketball courts and a skate park into another section of North Park to clear space for the new structures.
Plans call for the 12,500-square-foot library to sit near the intersection of Fulton Drive and Community Parkway NW. The amphitheater sits north of the library against the curve of Community Parkway. A pedestrian parkway and plaza area split the library and amphitheater.
The library's plans include an outdoor program area and an outdoor gathering area that back up against the walkway and plaza. The north wall is glass to allow direct views of the amphitheater. The building's roof is pitched to mimic the amphitheater, said Jean Duncan McFarren, interim executive director for the library district.
"I love that it connects so beautifully to the park and the amphitheater," McFarren said of the design.
The new building will include a meeting room, a children's area, a teen space and smaller study areas, along with a large public area for browsing books. That area will include a fireplace were patrons can relax and read.
One of the ideas tested at the library's Smart Store in the Marketplace at Nobles Pond will be used in the public area. Tables, chairs and other equipment in the space will be moveable, allowing staff to rearrange and open space when needed. Patrons will be able to combine or separate tables when necessary.
Another key feature tested at the Smart Store and being incorporated into the new branch is the 24-hour vestibule. The space is equipped with lockers where patrons can pick up books, videos or other items they have borrowed. McFarren said the space will be larger than what is being used at the Smart Store, allowing for more lockers. There also will be vending equipment where patrons can use their card to access popular items from the library's collection.
The new building will be a traditional library branch, but it will include new technologies and ideas, McFarren said. "It should be a beautiful space," she said. "It will meet the community's needs and should be a point of civic pride."
Architects for the library and for the amphitheater have been working together on designs. The same engineering company has been hired by the township and the library district for construction.
Design work on the amphitheater is about 70 percent complete, said Michael Vaccaro, the township's administrator and law director. Township officials are set to meet next week to review plans, make adjustments and move toward the final product, he said.
The amphitheater will serve as a centerpiece for the township's parks, township officials have said. They expect the facility will serve as focal point for the annual Jackson Celebration and host a number of community and private events through the year.
Along with new tennis courts, the area will include space for bocce and cornhole.
The project also includes a parking area next to the library and a 287-vehicle parking lot to serve the amphitheater, tennis courts and library. The larger lot will have access to Fulton Drive and Community Parkway.
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