A Thoughtfully Designed Welcome into the Hershey Public Library
RGS worked with the architecture team of The Hershey Public Library Family project to design and create a new library courtyard entrance with features including a new covered entry sequence and outdoor reading garden.
A key feature of this entry and outdoor learning space is that it’s immediately adjacent to an enhanced children’s library area inside the building. The opportunity to create an enjoyable exterior reading garden area beside the new entrance canopy that affords a new learning environment was key to attracting philanthropic interest in the project.
Turning a Stormwater Management Challenge into an Educational Opportunity
Hershey has endured stormwater-related issues over the last decade and was an anticipated challenge with the Hershey Public Library project. Artful stormwater management strategies were discussed early on with the project team. The RGS engineering and design team suggested incorporating a stormwater management element into the project to bypass the stormwater challenge while adding to the educational purpose of the library and reading garden. Making stormwater management a tangible feature of the project dovetailed nicely with the role of the library in the education of its citizens.
Our team designed a new canopy that now captures stormwater and conveys it through the site. Rainwater is concentrated and directed to a rain chain, which then visually spills into a splash urn. The urn overflows into a drain integrated into the main walkway. The runoff then follows a flow path through a series of seat walls with infiltration planters, across the patio, and into a rain garden. Runoff ultimately is directed to a subsurface stone bed below the parking lot before ever leaving the site.
Today, library guests can observe the management strategy while learning about the importance of stormwater management in our communities and environment. The design celebrates rainwater as a resource by incorporating some of the on-site features as educational tools which can be utilized by library staff in educating children and patrons.
Making Library Access Easy for Everyone
In addition to the design of creative stormwater management solutions, the Hershey Public Library project also included the design of a new secondary entrance to the northeast corner of the building. The entrance improves accessibility for guests with mobility challenges.
Throughout the entire library project, RGS designers selected the best high-quality materials for the design and its use. They also determined the proper elevations of each site feature. Together, the RGS team implemented stormwater strategies, greater accessibility, and the best features for the project, contributing to the design of what is a beautiful and functional space for the Hershey Public Library.