Long-Awaited Acreage Library Opens March 31

The long-planned Acreage branch of the Palm Beach County Library System will open to the public this weekend.

The grand opening will begin with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 31. The library is at 15801 Orange Blvd., behind the Publix shopping center.

The 30,000-square-foot library is an environmentally friendly building, Branch Manager Aurora Arthay told county commissioners during their recent tour of facilities in The Acreage. “We have water efficiency features, including water-efficient landscaping,” she noted.

Library Director John Callahan said he is glad to see the Acreage facility opening after prolonged land-swap negotiations with the Indian Trail Improvement District.

“This project has been in planning for a number of years,” Callahan told the Town-Crier Wednesday. “I think the people of The Acreage are going to be very pleased with the result. I think the inside is very impressive.”

Callahan noted that the building has been honored with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. He extolled the amenities installed as part of the LEED process.

“It really gives the library a distinctive feel as you come inside,” he said. “It’s a very comfortable space. Of course, it’s going to have lots of material available for the public.”

Callahan also noted that it will be much more convenient for Acreage/Loxahatchee library users who previously had to travel to Royal Palm Beach or even Palm Beach Gardens.

“Being located adjacent to the commercial center of The Acreage is certainly a big plus,” he said. “We will offer the full range of programs that we offer at other libraries.”

Arthay said the new facility has solar-powered chandeliers depicting oranges in the entranceway, as well as other Art in Public Places features, and more than 100,000 materials for checkout or reference.

“We have 74 word processing and Internet computers that will be available to the public,” she said.

Fifty-four will be in the adult area, eight in the teen area and 12 in youth services. “We have a designated teen area and a children’s youth services area. We have several meeting spaces,” she said.

The meeting rooms will be available for use by public and nonprofit groups.

“We will have four checkout machines that the public can use, and we have a horse walking trail right in front of the building with two hitching posts,” she said. “I can’t wait to see the horses.”

Arthay said the grand opening will include a day of music, magicians and refreshments. “I invite you all to attend and help us celebrate,” she said.

Speakers will include Callahan, County Commissioner Jess Santamaria, Indian Trail Improvement District President Michelle Damone and Library Advisory Board Chairman Bill Rautenberg. The Pledge of Allegiance will be led by Boy Scout Troop 105.

After the ceremony, there will be a full day of activities for the entire family. Photos will be taken with library mascot Dewey the Owl; bluegrass band Untold Riches performs at 11 a.m.; Karl Koppertop’s Balloon Fun takes place at 2 p.m.; and Karl Koppertop’s Magic Show is at 3 p.m.

Children’s craft making and video games for teens will be available throughout the day.

The new library provides residents with access to books, information and computers, as well as entertaining and educational programs. The 100,000 items available to check out will be in a variety of formats, including books, DVDs, CDs, audiobooks and e-books.

Free wireless access will be available throughout the building. The large meeting room accommodates 165 people. A small conference room accommodates eight people, and there is a separate room for children’s programs.

The branch also has four quiet study rooms and a larger group study room. There are two areas designed for children and young adults with computers and materials selected especially for them. Study carrels and comfortable seating areas are located throughout the branch.

The Acreage library is the first LEED-certified county building. Some of the features that qualified the branch for this designation are parking spaces for alternative-energy vehicles; hitching posts and bicycle spaces; water-efficient landscaping; plumbing systems that use less water; reduced construction waste; use of recycled materials in the construction; and use of low-emitting paint, carpeting, adhesives and composite wood.

The branch also features Art in Public Places, titled “Productive Light,” which incorporates “green” education and design elements. A suspended orange tree light sculpture, designed by Laura Haddad and Tom Drugan, utilizes solar power and includes an interactive panel, orange bar code windows and an educational booklet. The art pays homage to the historic orange groves of The Acreage.

The architect was Slattery & Associates, construction by Catalfumo Construction Inc. and design by inDesign Inc.