High construction costs push library board to approve renovation changes for Las Palmas Library

The San Antonio Public Library Board of Trustees approved the design changes after public comment.

SAN ANTONIO – Delia Ramirez Trimble said she felt frustrated Wednesday night after promised renovations at the Las Palmas Library were confirmed to change.

“The community needs to be listened to,” said Trimble, the president of the Friends of Las Palmas Library group. “They’re the people (who are) going to be using it.”

The San Antonio Public Library Board of Trustees voted Wednesday night to scale back upgrades at the Las Palmas location on Castroville Road because of budget concerns. The library closed for construction about a year ago, but upgrades have been talked about for years.

“We’ve been working on this project since 2017,” said Velma Pena, president of the Westwood Square Neighborhood Association.

Two bond projects back these renovations. The board said about 90% of the 2017 bond project is complete, but the 2022 bond project will change due to rising material costs.

“When we came down to looking at the scope and some design enhancements, we realized it was not possible with the funding available,” said Jessica Zurita, the interim assistant library director for SAPL. “They are all design changes.”

The board’s vote to change design plans includes removing a bathroom, windows and solar-shade systems to protect from heat and glare. It will also change materials for the planned plaza and remove meeting room support and storage space.

Wednesday night’s meeting was the first time the public could see blueprints for the new plan. Linda Arronge, vice president of the Friends of the Las Palmas Library group, said it wasn’t enough time for the community to react to the proposed changes.

“At least we thought we were getting a few modern things, but we’ve lost that,” Arronge said. “I think the changes are still vague, but worse, the architect didn’t have answers for a lot of the questions people have.”

The city expects the library to reopen in 2025. Trimble said in the meantime, the community is going to keep asking questions.

“Even though design changes have been approved, there are still opportunities for us to ask questions,” Trimble said.

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!

Alexis Montalbo is a photojournalist at KSAT 12.

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