New Lewes library to feature energy-efficient design

Citizen suggests using new building as emergency shelter
July 17, 2014
Cape Gazette Publisher and campaign Chairman Dennis Forney explains funding for the new library at the meeting. BY HENRY J. EVANS JR.

The design committee for the new Lewes library showcased its proposed environmentally friendly design, which features nontoxic paint and energy-efficient lighting.

Brad Hastings of Becker Morgan Group, architect for the Lewes Library Project, presented the newest proposed design and highlighted features he says make the design more environmentally friendly than the existing library, such as minimizing paved areas in the parking lot, using energy-efficient lighting and heating and cooling systems, using nontoxic paint inside the library and proposing parking lot fixtures that will reduce light pollution in the parking lot.

Energy-efficient lighting, Hastings said, is expected to reduce energy costs about 60 percent, while the heating and cooling systems are expected to be 35 percent more efficient than the current library systems.

In addition to environmentally friendly components of the building, the new library has been designed with small windows to reduce potential wind damage. Hastings said the structure of the building will be sound enough to survive wind speeds of up to 130 mph.

Hastings said when a major disaster comes through, like Hurricane Sandy, codes for safety are updated. “We're confident the building will be more sound,” he said.

Expected to be completed in 2016, the new Lewes Public Library will be built on a 5.9-acre parcel between Stango Park and Freeman Highway, purchased by the City of Lewes in 2013 and known as the Thompson property.

The new library is expected to cost about $10.5 million, plus $3 million for a new trail head and restroom facilities for cyclists riding to Rehoboth Beach by the Junction and Breakwater Trail and Cape Henlopen State Park. The trail head will  also link to a future trail that would allow cyclists to ride west to Georgetown.

Campaign Chairman and Cape Gazette Publisher Dennis Forney said the committee received a $600,000 grant from the Longwood Foundation for the new library. The Longwood Foundation accepts grant requests from nonprofit organizations that benefit residents, the environment and the culture of Delaware and nearby Pennsylvania.

The design committee says it has emphasized durability; the committee expects the new library to stand for at least 50 years.

“Nobody really knows what the future is like,” says committee member and Library Board Vice President Ned Butera. “We're not locked in. There's a lot of flexibility in this building.”

Resident proposes emergency shelter

Eighty-year-old architect Kenneth Freemark of Rehoboth Beach asked whether library planners had considered using the new library to provide shelter for residents in the event of severe weather, like Hurricane Sandy. Freemark was particularly concerned for those who are older and have difficulty getting around.

“So often we forget that you don't move around so fast as you get older,” he said.

Library director Ed Goyda said that in the event of a weather emergency, the new library would have no problem providing temporary shelter for residents, but it would have to lock its doors whenever the library closed for the day.

Committee members said they took that concern into consideration in the beginning stages of the design process, but both the city of Lewes and state officials said shelter space would not be necessary because large shelters exist nearby.

The committee reminded Freemark that Cape Henlopen High School is a shelter less than 1 mile from the library.

To view the powerpoint presented at the meeting, go to

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