Northeast Regional Library construction underway

By Jeanne E. Fredriksen
May 2015

After a quiet groundbreaking in November and a winter that hampered construction, the Northeast Regional Library building process is underway at the intersection of Forest Pines Drive and Green Elm Lane in Wakefield. The new 20,000-square-foot facility is projected to be move-in ready early next year.

“By the time the site could be prepared for an event, we were not able to predict the winter weather,” said Terri Luke, senior manager-facilities and security for Wake County Public Libraries. “At last count, we lost 45 working days to weather.”

NERL Pic 1Luke said the new projected opening is March or April 2016.

The “V” shaped building will separate the Adult Services and Youth Services wings with a center open gathering space. This center space will have a wall featuring new books, displays, four self-check-outs, and a customer service desk. Each wing will have a customer service desk as well.

“This design was based on the topography of the property,” Luke said, explaining the deviation from the standard square building. “It allows for wonderful outside views of the stream and trees from inside the library. It also provides a separation for adults and children. Kids can be kids on their side of the library and adults will have a more quiet space in the other wing.”

The Youth Services wing will feature a 600-square-foot conference room designed to accommodate 30 to 40 people and an 800-square-foot youth program room. In the Adult Services wing there will be a quiet reading/study room.

Luke was among the team that traveled to Chicago’s Merchandise Mart to learn about the most innovative and comfortable furnishings available. Most of the innovations cater to the growing number of library patrons who bring their laptops, tablets, and smartphones for work and research.

“We’ll be incorporating ‘WiFi bars,’ which are stand up/sit down stations with electrical plug-ins for laptops and phones,” Luke said. “We’ll also be using some new soft seating that we saw at the furniture show in Chicago (benches for the entry lobby and program room) and a U-shape collection of soft seating that takes advantage of the outside views.

NERL Pic 2

Looking from Green Elm Lane at the library construction site with Forest Pines Drive in the background. ~ Photos by Jeanne E. Fredriksen

“Some of the study tables will have flip tops with electrical plug-ins for phones and laptops. We also found new side tables that also have electrical pop-ups. There will be a mobile TV/white board combination in the conference room, and the youth programming room will have one that is a TV/flannel board combination. There are lots of new fabric ideas from the show as well.”

For patrons who do not bring their own devices, there will be 29 computers available to the public.

The Northeast Regional Library will also include an all-new collection of 155,000 volumes, 125 parking spaces, and rest rooms in both wings, plus a family-friendly rest room.

The $12 million facility is funded by a bond approved in 2003, and it is the final project covered by that money.

Until this regional library opens, the Wake Forest branch will continue to be the closest library available to our readership. Expansion of that branch, made possible by a 2008 bond, is still scheduled to begin in 2017 with a 2018 opening. The expansion will nearly double the size of the branch.