Here’s a first look at designs for the new and relocated Antioch Library branch in Merriam

Antioch Library rendering

The new Antioch Library at the Merriam Community Center campus is designed to include a green roof and a drive-thru for holds. Image via Merriam city documents.

Johnson County Library is in the middle of design development for the new Antioch Library branch, which is being co-located next to the Merriam Community Center.

The 15,000 square foot branch aims to be sustainable, campus-minded, function-driven and intuitively-convenient, according to a JCL presentation. This is what we know about the new branch, which is working toward a 2024 opening.

Antioch Library green roof and drive-thru
The green roof and drive-thru are two of the main features in the new branch’s design. Image via city documents.

First look: Here’s a breakdown of the current design planned for the new Antioch Library, as outlined in city documents.

  • A green roof system — that the library will maintain —featuring prairie grass and perennials
  • A drive-thru for holds and pick-ups, making Antioch the farthest northeast branch with this amenity
  • Connections to the outside world through vertical elements on the roof with skylights
  • A sustainability component, potentially a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification or a full-electric building
  • Aside from stacks, the library will also feature three meeting rooms (one large room, two smaller rooms) and a computer area.

Background: After more than a year’s worth of back and forth on the concept, the city of Merriam in 2019 approved a transfer of property allowing a library co-location on the community center campus.

JCL originally planned for a 2023 opening, but decided to take extra time incorporating stakeholder feedback — which emphasized sustainability, green space and connections to the outside world — pushing it back by a year.

Antioch Library extended roof
The extended roof is intended to act as a welcoming “front porch,” library officials said. Image via city documents.

The timeline: Here’s what patrons can expect as the library continues to progress on the Antioch Library rebuild.

  • Design development will continue into the fourth quarter of 2022.
  • Once design development is completed, the library will begin the bidding process and construction in late 2022, early 2023. This will continue into late 2023.
  • The existing Antioch Library branch will close in early 2024, and at the same time, the JCL will work on finishing touches and a grand opening for the new branch.

What’s next: JCL will take design plans to the Merriam Planning Commission for approval, and those will come back to the city council for final approval.

Key quote: “It’s worth noting that the Antioch Library is the oldest library in the Johnson County Library system, 1956,” said Fred Logan, JCL counsel. “The library goes way back with the city, and considers it to be a very, very important relationship.”