The Roy and Helen Hall Memorial Library is expected to undergo construction as part of a “reimagination” of the facility, according to city of McKinney documents.

McKinney City Council members unanimously approved a budget amendment and accompanying resolution totaling about $1.2 million for the design and construction of the project as part of the consent agenda at a June 4 meeting.

The gist

The plans for the facility include a new layout on both floors of the facility, including dedicated youth and teen sections, according to a presentation at a work session.

The plans also include relocating the facility’s restrooms and removing an existing fireplace, which would improve lines of sight on the first floor of the building, said Spencer Smith, director of the McKinney Public Library System.

Other improvements planned include removing the existing elevator and replacing it with two larger elevators in a different location in the building. The project will also expand existing study rooms and add four new study rooms, bringing the total to seven.

The project plan also includes:
  • Height-appropriate shelving
  • Consolidation of staff areas
  • A flexible space on the second floor of the facility that can be used for classes, meetings or exhibits
Construction on the project is expected to begin in early 2025 and will last between 12-18 months, said Maureen Arndt, representing 720 Design. 720 Design will lead the design and implementation of the project, according to city documents.

The library will not be open during the construction period, Smith said, but library staff are working to develop a plan to open satellite locations on the east side during the construction period. Potential locations include McKinney’s new city hall and the Old Settlers Recreation Center, Smith said.

The setup

The roughly 33,700-square-foot facility has been in operation for over 20 years, the city’s website stated.

Smith said the downtown library often hosts events but does not see as much traffic as McKinney’s other library location, the John and Judy Gay Library.

“It’s a great special event destination, but it is not an everyday destination like we get over at John and Judy Gay Library,” he said.

The building’s current layout presents challenges for staff at the location including limited lines of sight and separation of staff across the building, which affects communication, Smith said.

The facility also has few power outlets, posing a challenge for technology in the building. Other challenges noted in the presentation include:
  • Condition of flooring in the building, specifically in the bathrooms
  • Size and quantity of existing study rooms
  • Inconsistent lighting in the lobby area
  • Difficulties performing maintenance on certain fixtures in the building
Despite the challenges presented by its current layout, the library’s size and proximity to downtown are ideal for a library facility, Smith said.

“The work that we could do and the design we could have for this building could really be ... the north-side gateway into downtown,” he said.

Diving deeper

The project was considered for inclusion in the recent May 2024 bond package, but it was ultimately removed and considered for funding from a different source, Smith said. The project is being considered in context with the downtown redevelopment project which will affect five adjacent city blocks.

The redesigned facility will add more learning and meeting spaces, but it will also prepare the library for future years of use, Smith said. The plan for the building could be changed as the project progresses, he said.

“This is just a first-draft vision of how different the building could be as we work with the design and the architects to really flesh out how we can turn Roy and Helen Hall [Memorial Library] and make it even better ... and create a real vibrant hub for the east side of town,” Smith said.