Another Step Forward Toward Making the CDC Building a Permanent Home for Our Library

The Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) Board meeting on April 14 approved a resolution that is a small step towards making the former Piedmont Child Development Center (CDC) into a permanent and larger home for the Piedmont Avenue Branch Library.

To urge passage of this consent resolution, Friends of Piedmont Avenue Library (PAL) assembled a comprehensive 20-page information packet explaining the background facts and showing strong support from all sectors of the community. The packet was sent to the OUSD Board members the previous week. PAL supporters also submitted many e-comments, which are posted on the resolution page and will remain for some days after the meeting.

This resolution paves the way for OUSD to release a Request for Proposals (RFP) to rehabilitate and convert the CDC building to a public library. This procedural step is required by the state Education Code before OUSD can take the step of working on a long-term joint occupancy lease agreement between the school district and the City of Oakland for a library in the CDC. Oakland Public Library (OPL) administration has been aware of this process and is working with the City Attorney and other City departments to see how OPL can develop a proposal.

Meanwhile, City staff are working to estimate the costs of renovation and repair for the CDC. The City’s Library Department has requested planning funds to do a feasibility study, and we believe that request will be included in the draft Capital Improvement Program that the City Council will review soon, as part of the 2021-2023 budget to be finalized in June. Dan Kalb has said that this item is one of his top priorities for the Capital Improvement list. We know that more funding, beyond what could be approved for the feasibility study, will be needed in the future to bring the concept to construction reality.

Friends of PAL will continue to coordinate with Library staff to learn how we can help. 

By Arleen Feng, member of the Steering Committee of Friends of Piedmont Avenue Library