Amphitheater, outdoor classroom

A rendering of the Auburn Public Library Amphitheater and Outdoor Learning Center

The greenspace outside of the Auburn Public Library will get some special attention this summer with the construction of the Auburn Public Library Amphitheater and Outdoor Learning Center, a project that both meets library needs and features green infrastructure elements. 

"I've been fortunate to work on a number of really neat projects for the city of Auburn over my 12 years tenure with the city," said Dan Ballard, Landscape and Sustainability Division manager at Tuesday's meeting of the Auburn Public Library Board. "I can honestly tell you not many projects have got me as excited as this one."

The project will install a tiered amphitheater on the lawn on the north side of the existing parking lot, as well as green elements like a pollinator garden and stormwater garden, which will manage stormwater runoff from the parking lot. 

The project, which combines goals of both the Parks, Recreation and Culture Master Plan and the Green Infrastructure Master Plan, will be completed over the summer and be finished by the beginning of September.

The amphitheater, which will have a 140-seat capacity on tiered brick seat walls similar to those found on Auburn University's campus, will be ADA compliant and feature handicap-accessible seating.

"When the weather's nice, we can do story-time out there," said Library Director Chris Warren on the amphitheater's possible uses.

The amphitheater will be surrounded by embedded boulders that could provide additional seating, as well as a number of tree varieties, including tree-form Loropetalum, Eastern Redbud and "Rising Sun" Redbud, as well as Dwarf Forsythia and Pink Muhly Grass surrounding the pollinator garden, which will be planted with a mix of different flowers by volunteers. 

"There's a lot of different ways we can make this space really unique and changing throughout the season," said Ballard. "I think the coolest part of this, again, is having the volunteers come and participate."

The pollinator garden will be surrounded by a permeable brick paver walkway, with a color that will mirror that of the main library building. 

Construction during the summer should have a minimum impact on parking, affecting only seven spaces to the east of the construction site. The total budget for the project is $202,500. 

Also at the board meeting, it was announced that the Big Book Sale hosted by the Friends of the Auburn Public Library was the most successful to date, pulling in $9,450. A children's books sale will be held on June 4, with books costing 25 cents apiece.

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