High construction costs to delay, potentially change plans for Las Palmas Library renovation

Neighbors say they’ve been advocating for the project since 2017

SAN ANTONIO – Delia Ramirez Trimble couldn’t hold back a smile talking about the Las Palmas Library.

“It’s giving back to the community,” Trimble said. “I grew up in this area probably a mile away from here, so I know the value of what it brings to this part of town.”

Right now, the Las Palmas Library is temporarily closed. It’s due to ongoing construction to renovate the building through 2017 and 2022 city bond projects. But after nearly a year of the library being closed and more than seven years since the renovations were first advocated for, this week, the city told community members that high construction costs were the reason the project would soon be changing again, ultimately delaying its reopening even longer.

“We wanted the library renovated and upgraded,” Trimble said. “When we heard that, it was like, ‘Oh, no.’ But again, what can we do?”

Trimble serves as the president of the Friends of Las Palmas Library group. She said she’s been advocating for renovations to the library since before 2017. She’s been working with the vice president of the group, Linda Arronge, through it all.

“I think the community deserves a comfort place,” Arronge said. “We fought for a long time.”

The project is supposed to bring improvements to the children’s area, the teen area, meeting rooms, the technology lab, and bathrooms. A “Learn Center” is expected to be added. The city, in its overview, said it would add new service points, a new digital exterior sign, replace the roof, and improve the HVAC system, among other things.

A District 5 Councilwoman Teri Castillo spokesperson told KSAT over email that Public Works said 80% of the 2017 bond project is complete. However, modifications are being proposed to the original 2022 bond project.

In a meeting held on Monday, the Las Palmas Branch Library community discussed construction updates with San Antonio Public Library and Public Works leaders. It was held in person and live-streamed. To watch the meeting, click here. The city said the major update was that construction prices have increased and now the bond budget won’t cover the original project. The city reviewed the project and found ways to modify the plans to reduce the cost of the designs. It also is planning to find additional funds for the project.

Proposed changes for the project include adjusting the storefront window, deleting an inclusive restroom, deleting the wood ceiling in the plaza enclosure, deleting storage and support space for the meeting room, adding minimal landscaping to the plaza area, adjusting/removing clerestory windows and “other items as determined.”

“This is a wonderful library,” Trimble said. “If you look around this area, you’re not going to see bowling alleys, you’re not going to see theaters, you’re not going to see a whole lot of the things that a lot of other areas of the city have.”

The design plan changes will go to the Library Board of Trustees meeting on March 27 at 4:30 p.m. at the McCreless Branch Library. It’s projected that the Las Palmas Branch Library will re-open to the public in early 2025.

About the Authors

Avery Everett is a news reporter and multimedia journalist at KSAT 12 News. Avery is a Philadelphia native. If she’s not at the station, she’s either on a hiking or biking trail. A lover of charcuterie boards and chocolate chip cookies, Avery’s also looking forward to eating her way through San Antonio, one taco shop at a time!

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