The city held another community meeting last week to discuss plans for the new Preston Royal Library despite the fact that we will not see any dirt fly for another five or six years.

At this point, the library is not being included in the proposed 2012 bond program, which will be a slim $450-$550 million. There just isn’t enough money to go around.

“Our biggest needs right now are flood control, streets and economic development,” said assistant city manager Joe Zapata. “In 2006, we passed the biggest bond package in Dallas history, $1.35 billion, when the economy was good. Now, things have changed.”

The total cost of the new library is estimated to be about $6 million. That includes the design, construction, collection – everything to get the facility up and running.

The city has hired Perkins & Will to design the new building that will go in the vacant lot at Forest and Nuestra. The proposed plans are complete. You can scroll through the slideshow above.

There are no access points from Nuestra or Quincy – only along Forest. The decision specifically addresses neighbors’ concerns of potential traffic build-up in the residential area behind the library. The entrance is in the back, leaving a clean view of the library from Forest. Architects wanted to avoid a cluttered and commercial look.

They’ve also kept in mind that libraries are changing (case in point: The Marsh Middle School library). They aren’t just for reading, they’re for learning in different ways.

“We want it to be as flexible as possible because we don’t know where libraries are going to be in five or six years,” says Phil Callison of Perkins & Will.

Want to see construction start sooner? There’s another town-hall meeting 6:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Hillcrest High School library to discuss the 2012 bond program. Voice your concerns there.

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