Hundreds of residents turned out to celebrate the ribbon-cutting and grand opening of the Wheaton Library and Community Recreation Center and Wheaton Local Park. The new state-of-the-art complex is located at 11701 Georgia Ave.
The 92,000-square foot building is the County’s first combined multiplex to include a library, community recreation center, Friends of the Library used bookstore, and local park. The facility includes a 79,000-square foot underground parking garage.
The multifaceted design blends literacy and leisure into a unique facility making it possible to participate in yoga, reading, playground activities, pottery, basketball, story time, purchasing of used books and fitness workouts at a single location.
“I remember how important the recreation center and library were to me when I was a student at Einstein High School. I’d come to the library after school to do research and listen to bands at the recreation center. In fact, the band I was in played at the recreation center.” said Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich. “This building is an important part of the County’s efforts to reinvigorate the Wheaton area and is a good example of trying to think differently about how we approach our services to the community in this one building, we are providing a great recreation center and a beautiful library. I appreciate the work that has been done to address the residents’ needs, and I look forward to continued good work together with our community partners.”
“The opening of the new Wheaton Library and Recreation Center has been a long time coming – getting this done has been among my top priorities since I began representing the Wheaton area in 2011,” said Council President Nancy Navarro. “Wheaton is a vibrant, growing community, and the new Library and Recreation Center plays a pivotal role in its ongoing revitalization. I am excited to be taking part in this momentous occasion after so many years of hard work.”
Elrich was joined by County Council President Nancy Navarro; County Council Vice President Sidney Katz; County Councilmembers Gabe Albornoz; Andrew Friedson; Evan Glass; Tom Hucker; Will Jawando; Craig Rice; Hans Riemer; Montgomery County Recreation Director Robin Riley; Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) Chair Casey Anderson; Montgomery County Public Libraries Acting Director Anita Vassallo; Mid-County Regional Services Office Director Luisa Montero-Diaz; General Services Deputy Director Greg Ossont; M-NCPPC Montgomery Parks Director Michael F. Riley; Friends of the Library, Montgomery County, MD, Inc. Executive Director Ari Z. Brooks and members of the community.
Through the process, community members were involved in the planning and design of the facility through several public-planning meetings.
By sharing the use of spaces such as lobbies, meeting rooms, and restrooms, the overall building size is reduced, and the facility use is optimized. The building is a high-performance and environmentally-friendly facility, which will receive at minimum LEED silver certification. Green features include a vegetative planted roof and a high-performance mechanical and lighting system including LED lights, controls and sensors.
The library includes more than 63,000 print volumes and media items with materials for children, teens, and adults. There are eight collaboration rooms, two of which are equipped with smart TVs, two quiet study rooms; an early literacy area; a children’s program room; and a teen space. Technology includes adult public computers, children’s computers, self-checkout machines, catalog computers, laptops for inhouse use, AWE workstations, charging stations for mobile devices, Wi-Fi, a laptop lane, and Go! Kits.
The Community Recreation Center includes a three-bay gymnasium with an elevated track, full-service fitness room, pottery studio, commercial teaching kitchen, game room and social hall. The social hall and many conference rooms will be available to rent to the public beginning in November for rentals taking place in 2020. The facility will be programmed with open gym times and a wide variety of recreation classes such as fitness, pottery, dance, cooking Zumba and more. Montgomery County Recreation offers convenient, affordable passes for its open gym times and fitness rooms at all recreation centers. Many programs are available for free or reduced fee for youth and older adults. The Wheaton Community Recreation Center will offer extended operating hours until 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday evenings.
Wheaton Local Park is situated on 2.3 acres and features a large open play area, a multi-age destination playground and parking. The playground includes a variety of structures which serve as musical instruments, as well as a shaded reading circle.
Friends of the Library, Montgomery County (FOLMC) returns to the Wheaton community, where they sold books for almost four decades in pursuit of their mission to strengthen and champion MCPL. The new FOLMC Bookstore features books, music, movies, and games spanning all genres and for all ages.
Under the management of the County’s Department of General Services, Grimm + Parker served as the Architect and Costello Construction was the general contractor.
The project was partially funded by the County Library Capital Grant Program and the Maryland State Department of Education, Division of Library Development and Services, as authorized by the Maryland General Assembly and supported by the Maryland County Delegation.
For more information about the programming and operating hours and programs, visit the Montgomery County Recreation, Montgomery County Public Libraries, Montgomery Parks and Montgomery County Friends of the Libraries websites.