Public Works and SFPL Receives Two Project of the Year Awards

For Immediate Release:                                                                    

February 25, 2011     
Contact: (415) 554-6926                                                         


Bernal Heights and Eureka Valley Branch Libraries Selected for Historic Preservation and Restoration

San Francisco, CA- The Northern California Chapter of the American Public Works Association (APWA) announced and presented two ‘Project of the Year’ awards to the San Francisco Department of Public Work (DPW) and the San Francisco Public Library (SFPL) in a ceremony on Thursday. The recent renovations of the Bernal Heights and Eureka Valley/Harvey Milk Memorial branch libraries won awards under the category of “Historic Restoration/Preservation” projects between $5-25 million and less than $5 million respectively.


“DPW is extremely honored to be presented with these prestigious awards. Bernal Heights and Eureka Valley/Harvey Milk Memorial branch libraries were designed by our very own Bureau of Architecture and this recognition exemplifies our dedication toward preserving and restoring beautiful historic buildings into facilities that are highly functional, sustainable, and accessible for residents of San Francisco to enjoy,” said Ed Reiskin, Director of the Department of Public Works.


The APWA is an international educational and professional association of public agencies, private sector companies and individuals dedicated to providing high quality public works goods and services. Chartered in 1938, APWA is the largest and oldest organization of its kind in the world with over 25,000 members.  Formed in 1947, the Northern California Chapter covers eleven counties and was the first APWA Chapter in the west coast.

“The Branch Library Improvement Program is the largest preservation project in the City,” explained City Librarian Luis Herrera. “It’s wonderful to be recognized for our achievements in historic preservation. Both renovations have preserved the beautiful historic features of the branches while creating updated spaces that offer new technology, flexible uses for our diverse communities and seismically safe buildings that can be enjoyed for generations to come.”


The renovation of the Bernal Heights Branch Library included an extensive refurbishment of the basement, creating a sizeable dedicated Children’s Room with easy access from the neighboring Bernal Heights playground. A spacious community meeting room to accommodate Library classes, programs and after-hours activities, staff rooms and fully accessible public restrooms complete the lower level. Upstairs, the main portion of the library retains its beautiful heritage from 1940 with the original hand painted stencils decorating the ceiling and the original ornate hanging light fixtures casting a warm glow throughout the rooms. Wood veneers were refinished to carefully match the original woodwork inside the branch.  The library was reopened in January 2010.


The renovation of the Eureka Valley/Harvey Milk Memorial Branch library, a beautiful, midcentury modern branch, included a small addition, new accessible restrooms, seismic upgrading, technological updating and new furnishings. The light-filled Library was reopened in October 2009 and included a reading lounge area with a refurbished gas fireplace as well as a pleasant outdoor courtyard surrounded by flowers and plants. Originally built in 1961, the branch now offers more space for Teens and Children and has a more flexible layout to support a variety of library programs and events.


“The Public Works Project of the Year Award was established to promote excellence in the management and administration of public works projects by recognizing the alliance between the managing agency, the consultant, the architect, the engineer, and the contractor who, working together, complete public works projects,” explained Steven Yee, Public Works Manager for the City of Dublin and APWA 2011 Awards Chairperson. Both projects will now be considered for national awards.


The Branch Library Improvement Program is funded by a $106 million bond measure passed by voters in November 2000 and reauthorized in 2007 to improve 24 branch libraries, 16 renovations and eight newly constructed buildings around the City. The program is administered through the San Francisco Public Library with project management, architectural, engineering and construction management services provided by the Department of Public Works.


DPW is responsible for the care and maintenance of San Francisco’s streets and much of its infrastructure. The department cleans and resurfaces streets; plants and maintains City street trees; designs, constructs and maintains city-owned facilities; inspects streets and sidewalks; constructs curb ramps; removes graffiti from public property; and partners with the diverse neighborhoods in San Francisco to provide stellar cleaning and greening services.

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