After going back to drawing board, Merriam, library present new concept for co-locating Antioch branch, community center

County Librarian Sean Casserley recognized Merriam for its efforts to partner with the library on the idea of co-locating a rebuilt Antioch branch on the community center site.

The idea of co-locating a rebuilt Antioch branch of the Johnson County Library on the site of Merriam’s new community and aquatic center appears to be alive and well.

After concerns about the placement of the library at the top of a steep slope scuttled the initial co-location concept, the library and city started exploring alternative site plans and layout approaches. On Monday, engineers and designers presented a new concept to city officials and residents as part of an open workshop.

The reworked site plan puts entrances to the library, community center and a parking structure on the same level, with a paved courtyard/gathering area between them:

Rick Wise of Clark Enersen Partners told attendees that the site design sought to meet all of the objectives of both parties while adhering to “good neighbor” principles to minimize traffic, noise and light pollution in the surrounding neighborhoods.

Among the notable features of the project as envisioned with the layout presented Monday:

  • The 200-stall parking structure would have two levels, but no internal ramps.
  • The library would have a drive-through window for picking up items on hold and returning materials.
  • The main entrance and exit to the site would be off Slater with a secondary access point off Ikea Way.
  • A drop off point near the Slater entrance would provide access to both the library and the community center main entrances.

The project timeline for the $30 million community and aquatic center calls for construction to begin by the end of this year, with a projected opening date in late 2020.

The library project would not begin in any significant sense until the end of 2019, when the library would begin the process for selecting an architect. Construction on the library branch would begin in early 2021 with a projected project completion date in 2022.

At Monday’s workshop, County Librarian Sean Casserley recognized city staff for their efforts make a partnership on the site work.

“I believe that these joint city, county and library initiatives are fiscally responsible to provide the highest level of service in creating these facilities, but also to the residents of Johnson County,” Casserley said.

Monday’s presentation focused only on the site plan. The city of Merriam will be holding a public open house from 6:30 to 8 p.m. next Thursday, June 21, presenting design concepts for the community and aquatic center.