The El Sobrante Library and the adjoining Nancy Fahden House reopened to the public after a grand opening celebration on Saturday, November 23. Supervisor John Gioia and the Contra Costa County Library marked the occasion with a community ribbon-cutting ceremony. The all-day event included library tours, performers, a scavenger hunt, storytimes and special guests.
The Library closed after it sustained major damage in a February 2018 fire. The severe smoke, fire and water damage required that the building be stripped down to the studs for appropriate renovation. The Library, constructed in 1961, also underwent asbestos abatement, accessibility improvements and plumbing and electric systems code upgrades.
The completely remodeled Library has new windows on all sides including two walls of windows and six skylights that allow natural light into the building. The roof, paint, carpet, furniture, shelving and books are all brand new. The remodel also includes new bathrooms, a new meeting room and all new computers.
The newly renovated adjoining building – the Nancy Fahden House (formerly the Friends of the Library building) – was also reopened to the community. It is the home to both the Friends of the El Sobrante Library and the El Sobrante Historical Society. This building is named after former Supervisor Nancy Fahden, who was the first female elected to the Board of Supervisors in 1978 and once housed her District Office.
“The County is proud to re-open our completely remodeled library that better meets the needs of the El Sobrante community with state of the art technology and improved meeting space. In addition, the adjacent Nancy Fahden House will provide greater community space for local non-profits,” said John Gioia, Chair of the Board of Supervisors, who represents El Sobrante.
The project led by Contra Costa County Public Works and the Library, included Mark Scott Construction, BRW Architects and Humphries Poli/RATIO Architects.
“We are so thankful for the hard work and dedication of the many county departments, library staff and contractors who brought this library back to life,” said County Librarian Melinda Cervantes. “The new building is stunning and we are thrilled to be serving the El Sobrante community once again.”
Entertainment for the celebration included performances by Coventry and Kaluza, an award-winning physical comedy duo, guitarist Daniel Fries, musical storytimes, face painting, balloon-making, and a visit from Oakland Athletics mascot, Stomper. Guests also participated in a scavenger hunt to help take them on a tour of the new library and grounds.