Ortega Branch Facilities Survey

Image of Ortega Branch LibraryBACKGROUND Year Built: 1956 Architect: Appleton & Wolfard Seismic Hazard Rating 3 Number of Stories One Type: Modern Address: 3223 Ortega Street Gross Sq. Ft.: 4,057


The proposed modernization plan is to renovate and expand the existing building while minimizing the risk associated with a major earthquake. The recommended seismic strengthening will include foundation improvements, new steel braced moment frames, new concrete or concrete block walls, plywood sheathing and anchors at both high and low roofs, and exterior wall glass replacement. The seismic strengthening work scope directly triggers disabled access, code upgrades, and environmental hazard mitigation work.

The building has two separate roof levels. A high sloping roof over the main reading room consists of metal beams spanning between steel girders supported by steel columns. Two high symmetrically placed concrete walls flank the reading room at each entrance. A lower roof covering all administrative areas and restrooms is constructed of plywood sheathing over wood joists supported by reinforced concrete block walls. The building envelope consists of floor to roof glass walls, masonry walls and masonry piers.

The new construction or alteration will meet State (Title 24) and Federal (Americans with Disabilities Act) guidelines. The disabled access scope will address path of travel issues as well as health and safety improvements. Existing restrooms will be reconfigured and new restrooms will be added. In addition, service counters and online catalog terminals will be made accessible.

The anticipated building code impacts involve updating the building to comply with current life safety related code requirements for exiting, heating, ventilation, plumbing, electrical, lighting and other control systems. The heating system will be evaluated for possible replacement or expansion.

Current law requires removal of asbestos-containing materials (ACM's) such as plasterboard walls, vinyl flooring, and roofing impacted by the seismic retrofit, disabled access, and modernization work. The removal of ACM's will require relocation of the building occupants to avoid potential health risks. The asbestos mitigation project will be done in advance of major construction work. In addition, lead that is impacted will also be removed during this time.

Modernization improvements include a building expansion to increase staff work area, increase the size of teen/children’s area, collections, add a multi-purpose program rooms, and increase storage space. Other scope includes new lighting, new flooring, additional electrical/data outlets, refurbished work and public areas, reconfiguring all service points, and replacing or reconfiguring the windows.



  1. The high and low roofs act independent of each other and may collide during a major seismic event.
  2. The high columns and steel roof beams are not braced to resist major lateral forces.
  3. The connections between the concrete entry walls and the steel roof frame need to be strengthened.
  4. There are no shear walls to resist lateral forces acting in either direction along the perimeter wall.

Non-Structural Deficiencies

  1. Glass block in-fill walls between the high and low roofs could become potential falling hazards during a major seismic event.
  2. Floor to roof high glazing along exterior wall could potentially become falling hazards during a major seismic event.


  1. Strengthen connection between the roof framing system and the unsupported columns and concrete walls.
  2. Strengthen the span from column to column by adding steel bracing or moment frames.
  3. Provide seismic joints between the high and low roofs to minimize pounding effect.
  4. Provide in-fill walls as necessary to provide structural continuity along exterior wall.
  5. Remove glass block and replace with tempered or other type of safety glass.
  6. Remove high glass along perimeter and re-design fenestration to minimize falling hazards.


  1. The exterior and interior doors are either too narrow or do not have accessible hardware.
  2. Site access lacks a clear accessible path of travel and accessible parking.
  3. Steps leading to the rear entry lack an access ramp.
  4. Service counters and work areas are not accessible.
  5. Restrooms and other public amenities are not accessible.


  1. Define a clear path of travel to include accessible parking, ramps, and signs for wheelchair users.
  2. Replace all service counters and other amenities with accessible construction.
  3. Replace and relocate existing restrooms with accessible restrooms.
  4. Make service counters and work areas accessible.
  5. Make all entries, exits, and doors accessible throughout.


  1. Existing HVAC unit needs to be replaced.
  2. Existing slab heating system need to be removed or abandoned in place.
  3. Existing water heater needs replacement.
  4. Existing plumbing systems need upgrading.


  1. Replace and expand HVAC system.
  2. Abandon existing slab heating system in place.
  3. Replace water heater.
  4. Upgrade or replace plumbing systems as required.


  1. Telephone panel needs upgrading and to be separate from Rec/Park’s panel.
  2. Main electrical panel is in marginal condition and needs replacement. In addition, the main panel needs to be separate from Rec./Park’s electrical panel serving the adjacent building.
  3. Data/Communications are inadequate to provide for flexible layout.
  4. Lighting is outdated and in need of replacement.


  1. Replace and relocate telephone panel to be independent from Rec./Park’s phone service.
  2. Replace and relocate electrical panel to be independent from Rec./Park’s electrical service.
  3. Add data/communications distribution system and provide outlets to allow for flexible layout.
  4. Replace all lighting throughout.


  1. There are not enough emergency lights.
  2. Exit signs need to be upgraded and connected to emergency power source.
  3. The building does not have a central fire alarm system.
  4. There are not enough fire extinguishers.
  5. Smoke detectors are in need of replacement.
  6. The building lacks security grilles appropriate for its use.
  7. There is not enough security lighting.


  1. Add emergency lights and refurbish existing lights.
  2. Add emergency exit signs and refurbish existing signs.
  3. Add central fire alarm system.
  4. Add fire extinguishers as required.
  5. Add smoke detectors as required.
  6. Replace existing grilles and add new grilles appropriate for the building.
  7. Add interior and exterior security lighting as required.


  1. Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM’s) are identified throughout the building.


  1. Where impacted by construction, abate asbestos in the wall and ceiling sheetrock joint compound, vinyl floor tiles and mastics, ceramic tile grout and mastic, window glazing putty, baseboard putty, and heating hot water piping and fitting insulation.
  2. Abate asbestos if found in built up roof and flashing, boiler insulation, fire door core insulation, glued on ceiling tile, terrazzo flooring, and transite piping.
  3. Lead that is impacted by construction shall also be mitigated.


  1. The entire design of the branch needs to be rethought to come up with a flexible layout to serve the modern needs of the library.
  2. Most of the floor, wall, and ceiling finishes are outdated and in need of refurbishment.
  3. Children’s area needs to be expanded.
  4. The library is in need of a multi-purpose room for library program space.
  5. The library is in need of study rooms to allow for quiet study.


  1. Expand the building and reconfigure architectural layout to include a larger children’s area, study rooms, and a multi-purpose program room.
  2. Separate Rec/Park structure/roof and roof drainage (add fire wall if required).


  1. The existing landscape is in need of refurbishment.
  2. Existing landscaping does not give the Library the visibility it needs in the neighborhood.


  1. Refurbish and modify existing landscape to make the library building more visible form the street.
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