Getting a Permanent Home for Our Branch Library

City of Oakland has the ball now on the CDC building – we hope 

On February 26 the Oakland Board of Education voted unanimously to declare the Child Development Center (CDC) building next door to our branch library as non-surplus and to explore a joint occupancy lease with the City of Oakland. As the Friends of PAL wished, this resolution opens the way to a long-term lease for the Piedmont Avenue Branch Library.

It will be up to the City now, and the staff from the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) Superintendent’s office has contacted the City of Oakland to discuss this possibility and is to report back to the Board of Education by May 31. This is our hope: that the City (responsible for the libraries) will enter into long-term lease with the OUSD (the owners of the CDC building).

Next Steps: Friends of PAL encourages our supporters to contact Dan Kalb now — (510) 238-7001 or dkalb@oaklandca.gov — to thank him for his efforts so far, and ask how we can help as the City develops the budget for long-term occupancy of the Piedmont CDC.

It’s now up to our community to keep the momentum going with the City.  It is the City of Oakland that has to secure funding for:

  • Increased rent and staffing. OUSD’s Property Information Sheet for the Piedmont CDC building suggests a “mid range” rent of $230,000/year–which is $200k more than the current rent on the portable building.
  • Staffing would depend on the building plan layout but the annual increase for staff cost could be comparable to that for rent, about $200k.
  • Renovation and move-in costs. OUSD estimated a basic $538,532 repair cost to make the building usable, but there is also a big unknown: whether the Division of the State Architect (DSA) will require code upgrades—that would depend on how what alterations are proposed to the existing building. Both seismic and foundation code requirements have changed significantly since the original 1970 design, so if upgrades are required under DSA oversight, that would increase both costs and the time needed for construction.

Friends of PAL may also decide to step up our fundraising, now with our nonprofit status.

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