Q. The library looks very different since the last time I visited! Where can I find more information about your expansion project?
The library's expansion project was completed in the Spring of 2010. The construction included the expansion and renovations of the Ocean City Library, the construction of a new Senior Center, expansion of the Aquatic & Fitness Center and a new central lobby with a cafe.
The new addition to the Library, approximately 10,000 square feet, and renovations to its existing library were an integral part of the library’s Five Year-Long Range Plan, which was presented to the Library Board in 2005 and adopted in 2006. The Long Range Plan was developed by consultants, Library Development Solutions, utilizing a planning committee made up of professional and lay people from the Ocean City community. The Long Range Planning process included a community needs assessment, with focus groups and a space analysis of the current building.
The Long Range Plan, recommended reconfiguring space within the existing Library, to better accommodate the Library’s rapid growth, which to some extent has already been completed with the enclosure of the seldom-used, rear, second floor porch area, providing some much needed office space and additional space for employees, to improve work flow efficiency. Another recommendation of the Long Range Plan was the addition of 15,000 square feet to the existing building. This recommendation was based on the findings of the space analysis and needs assessment by the planning committee.
The Library Board recognized however, that an interior reconfiguration would not be enough to meet the future needs of their Long Range Plan. The Board undertook a search for a possible satellite off-campus branch, but available space and prohibitive costs, soon made that proposal not feasible.
In 2007 Garrison Architects was retained, to complete designs and plans for an addition, renovation, review of site landscaping and traffic flow for the Library and the entire Community Center which also includes the Ocean City Arts Center, the Ocean City Historical Museum and the Aquatic and Fitness Center.
According to Library Board President Edward Price, the original Library project morphed into a much more comprehensive one, making it “not only a much better resource center, but more importantly, a community gathering place, where people will feel comfortable, socialize and interact with one another.”
The Center features a new Senior Center, a totally enclosed walkway, which will enable people to travel from once facility to another, without having to go outside when the weather is inclement. The new senior center is approximately 8,800 square feet which is double the size the current center at 33rd and Bay Avenue. A 2,500 square foot expansion of the Aquatic and Fitness Center is also included in the plans for the Community Center, along with a café and additional open space. The Senior Center includes a cafeteria that can seat 200 and the Library section will include a lecture hall that will seat 80.