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  Highlands Ranch Library Article Pg. 64Highlands Ranch Library
Humphries Poli Architects, P.C., 1224 Speer Boulevard, Denver, CO 80204

Highlands Ranch, Colorado
Total Square Feet: 41,085
Construction Period: May 1999 to June 2000

Construction Team
General Contractor: Saunders Construction - 6950 South Jordan Road, Englewood, CO 80155
Structural Engineer: Martin/Martin - 4251 Kipling Street, Wheatridge, CO 80333
Electrical Engineer: Fitzpatrick Engineering - 1115 Grant Street, #201, Denver, CO 80203
Mechanical Engineer: Given And Associates - 12345 West Alameda Parkway, #31, Lakewood, CO 80228
Landscape Architect: Black Horn Studio, Inc. - 8933 East Union Avenue, #208, Englewood, CO 80111

Humphries Poli Architects, P.C. completed their fourth library project in as many years for the Douglas Public Library District in the southern metropolitan area of Denver, Colo. The Highlands Ranch Library is by far the most optimistic of the district's commissions, as this facility is the keystone to the new Highlands Ranch Civic Center.

The lobby/welcome center is the first "room" a visitor experiences upon entering the library, and therefore is an extremely important space in both the functional and aesthetic evaluation of the building. This space is intended to help a visitor visually orient themselves, and quickly understand the organization of the library. It presents a microcosm of the colors, finishes, and design attitudes which will be found throughout the building.

The circulation desk located on the north end of the lobby provides immediate supervision and help to library visitors. The desk has an excellent visual connection to the entire ground floor, as well as direct access to staff and support functions. The new books, adult fiction, large print and young adult area referred to as the "quick-picks" of the library's collection is adjacent to the lobby provides a high degree of serviceable space for PAC stations, new books, paperbacks, audio and video collection, and large type books. This area also has a large fireplace and seating area as a foreground to the western view towards the Rocky Mountains.

A meeting room capable of accommodating up to 200 people in auditorium-style seating, or 100 people at tables is located at a pivotal point in the plan, to best accommodate internal meetings, children's story time or non-related public functions. The room overlooks the Civic Green as well as the project entry plaza and drop-off. The meeting room has an adjacent warming kitchen, storage and immediate access to restrooms.

The children's area is located adjacent to the lobby so parents may easily direct and supervise the library's young patrons. This area occupies the south wing of level one, and is designed to contain its own PAC and Internet stations, toilet room, seating and service desk. The intent is to create a friendly, safe and appropriately scaled space to encourage independent use by the children. The children's area has immediate access to the large meeting room as well as a smaller story time area.

The staff work areas have been configured for flexibility, generally anticipating an open office configuration rather than many small dark cubicles. The staff area is adjacent to the circulation desk, and generally occupies the northeastern corner of the first floor of the building. The children's work space is contained within the children's wing, also on level one.

The non-fiction collection resides in the north wing of the second level. The entire second level is conceived as a destination, whether to the quiet study rooms, tables or areas, the quiet reading "club" room, or the outdoor reading terrace. The second level has been created as more of the traditional library space, without most of the distractions of entry, children's activity and circulation.

The reference area is also located on the second floor, in the south wing of the library. The reference area and associated seating, carrels and quiet study areas are destinations within the building, with access to light, mountain views, and the Town Center overlook. The vaulted roof shape provides a secure, formal enclosure for this wing, reminiscent of both the simplicity found in a high plains rancher's "long house", and the aspirations found in vaulted reading rooms found in libraries from ancient Rome to the Carnegie Libraries.

The second floor reading areas and collections are augmented by a south-facing reading terrace, which affords a commanding view over the Town Green, as well as panoramic views toward the west. This outdoors overlook gives patrons an opportunity to dwell awhile in the building to enjoy their reading materials, or Colorado's spectacular weather. The Civic Green makes an ideal venue for readings, music or speakers in the quiet evenings, or conversely the staging of music or speakers intended to address the many public art or festive events in the adjacent green.

This building in the final analysis, is intended to be of its site, of its time, and speak to the energy and aspirations found in this rapidly maturing community.

Exterior Walls - EIFS: Dryvit.
Roof - Metal: Berridge; Membrane: Firestone.
Floors - Resilient Flooring: Armstrong; Carpet: Collins & Aikman.
Interior Walls - Acoustical Treatment: Armstrong; Operable Partitions: Modernfold.Elevators - OTIS.

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