WESTBANK LIBRARY Landscape and Play Area Development 2024

schematic design for Westbank landscape and play area project

Plans are being finalized for an updated backyard and a general landscape upgrade this year!

  • More space We’ll be removing the fence that used to separate the community garden from the rest of the backyard, opening a wider path between the north and south ends of the space.
  • Sand play and shade  The north end of the yard will have a new large sandpit (to replace the existing small sandbox) with a shade canopy to see us through Austin’s hot summers.
  • New features  Musical flowers and sitting rocks will be placed in the long run area of the north yard, and new toys will be added over time.
  • Deck seating  A refinished deck is nestled in the trees with views of the new play area and the new mural.
  • Outdoor programming space Simplified bedding on the south side of the deck will create a hilly lawn suitable for storytimes and other programs.
  • Our favorites remain Our sea serpent, chalkboard, and playhive will remain, as well as the blue hippo who will move to the north yard.
  • Landscaping  All our planted areas and gravel paths will be re-worked with new plants where needed. Two new oaks  are part of succession planning in case we lose any of our older oaks over time.
  • Drainage  New swales will be created to help direct rain water over the surface, and repairs will be made to underground drainage.

We’ll keep you posted!

LAURA’S LIBRARY Renovation and HVAC Replacement 2023

Laura’s Library was closed for construction from April through September 2023 to replace the HVAC system, address facilities maintenance and updates, and make improvements to our outdoor spaces.

  • HVAC  The replacement units utilize new technology and refrigerants, and capacity has been increased in accordance with current building and occupancy codes. The project required some modifications to the building as additional equipment is required in the large meeting room.
  • Facilities maintenance and upgrades  While we would have preferred to wait a few more years before doing updates, it made sense financially to do this at the same time as the HVAC work. It also means we won’t need to close again in a few years to replace fluorescent lights with LEDs and address issues with the restrooms, staff spaces, limited storage, and fire doors.
  • Outdoor space improvements  Most exciting for us is that we have extended the fencing in the back of the library all the way along the the edge of the top terrace, creating a terrace behind the adult wing and a new play and programming area behind the children’s area. New doors in the adult wing and children’s wing provide access. The two backyard programming areas have artificial turf to discourage habitation by the local wildlife (scorpions, centipedes, snakes, and ants), so they are  suitable for everyone from crawling babies to adults doing yoga.

We have also added a walking path along the back field with its lovely views over the hills. The grounds on that level will be developed with natural grasses over time for additional play and programming space.

Construction was paid for by funds saved for this purpose.  Through careful management of tax revenues, we save money every year for capital projects necessary to maintain the beautiful libraries this community has built. The library has no debt.

The existing backyard has artificial turf, new toys, and furniture.

Lyle’s Spot, named for former Board President Lyle Thormann, is designed for toddle play.

The terrace overlooks the walking path which encloses a lower level play area.

New window seats have hill country views.

The Friends donated a new fountain, and there are new toys in the family center.

Our new furniture is finally in!