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Library Foundation submits lecture hall plans to city for plan check

The Newport Beach Public Library Lecture Hall Project has passed another major hurdle, with the submittal of architectural plans to the City of Newport Beach for a plan check, the review of code compliance for the proposed design.

The Lecture Hall will be nearly 10,000 square feet, with tiered seating for 299 guests. Located next to the Central Library in a freestanding building, the improvements will also include an expanded courtyard for pre- and post-events, and a reconfiguration of the library parking lot. 

Library Foundation submits outside

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Courtesy of the Newport Beach Public Library Foundation

The outside rendering of the planned lecture hall

The city joined with the Newport Beach Public Library Foundation in the quest for a Lecture Hall at the behest of the Board of Library Trustees which oversees the operation of the library system. 

The dream has been long in development but is getting closer to reality. In July 2019, after several presentations to the City Council demonstrating the need and demand for an improved facility to host authors, prominent speakers and city and community gatherings, the city formed the Library Lecture Hall Design Committee. The committee is chaired by Jill Johnson-Tucker, with Councilmember Diane Dixon, Chair of the Foundation Board Karen H. Clark, Library Trustee Janet Ray and EVP/The Related Companies Matthew Witte.

The Design Committee was tasked with evaluating potential architects for the project. After reviewing submittals from eight prominent firms, and conducting multiple interviews, the committee recommended local architect Robert Coffee who also designed the OASIS Senior Center. Over the course of more than a dozen public meetings, the committee provided guidance to Coffee in the development of concept plans acceptable to the committee and to the City Council. The plans for the Lecture Hall are expected to go to bid in Fall 2022.

Library Foundation submits inside

Courtesy of the Newport Beach Public Library Foundation

The inside rendering of the planned lecture hall

The project will be funded through both public and private sources. Pursuant to an agreement between the city and the foundation, the city will be contributing half and the foundation will fundraise for the remainder. A capital campaign will be launched by the foundation in the near future.