When you think "public library," colorful displays, natural light and 20,000 square feet of space are probably not what leap to mind. But this is what 800 to 1,000 people are enjoying on a daily basis at Chesterfield County's Meadowdale Library, which opened its doors on Nov. 10.
And this library model is what Mike Mabe, director of library services for Chesterfield, says is to be the mirrored at two new county libraries.
"There are general components that we think are things we will invest in future libraries," Mabe says, adding that these components include skylights, floor-to-ceiling windows and a public entrance into a large lobby area with direct access to library staff. A large meeting room, previously separated from public areas, was built into the interior of the building.
Mabe says Chesterfield County is currently in the design phase for the Reams-Gordon Library, to be located directly across from the Smoketree subdivision on the east side of Courthouse Road. The design phase will last through the spring or summer, but the plan is to create a library the same size and design as Meadowdale.
In addition, after the Reams-Gordon Library is completed, another Midlothian library is in the mix — off Robious and Twin Team roads, on the north side of Salisbury.
In Chester, the Sustainability Park, a manufacturing district with a green twist, stretches over 143 acres. Purchased in 2006 by Brenda Robinson, president and CEO of Environmental Solutions, the facility was previously a tobacco manufacturing building but has been transformed into a business park with ten tenants that promote sustainable manufacturing, using byproduct materials to create new products.
"I saw the vision to take this factory that was going to be closed and bring it back to a new life and continue on the manufacturing model — but do it using the theme of sustainability, environment and energy," Robinson says.
In December, Ace Recycling, a mixed construction and demolition company, became the newest tenant in the park, which also hosts a wastewater-treatment plant, a water-treatment plant, and steam and heat boilers. Three new tenants are under contract to come in this year.
The Bon Secours St. Francis Medical Center plans to break ground this June on an expansion — a $38.1 million project adding 54 beds to the hospital's current 130. The goal, says Kevin Sheppard, vice president of operations for Bon Secours and St. Francis Medical Center, is twofold: to add more space to the obstetrics unit, which has seen more than a 50 percent increase in deliveries, and to expand the telemetry unit, allowing for growth in the cardiac services and more flex space for patients. The addition is set for completion by summer 2011.
"It will provide the ability to meet the demand for the population in this area," Sheppard says. "With some of the big-growth areas, we have two 5,000-home neighborhoods coming in — Magnolia Green and Roseland. And the Fort Lee expansion to be here by 2011 — starting now."
Bon Secours is also in the process of implementing a new electronic medical-record system called ConnectCare, with a proposed completion date of 2011. "The physicians will document everything they order and do electronically instead of having to write orders," Sheppard says. "It eliminates all the writing processes, and there are a lot of checks and balances … if someone wrote a wrong order for a drug, it could catch that because there are logarithms to do so. It's a patient-safety system."