Ocean Beach Library expansion project getting $4.5 million from state

The Ocean Beach Library was built at its current spot in 1928 and was expanded to its present size in 1962.
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

A long-awaited renovation and expansion of the Ocean Beach Library has $4.5 million coming its way from the state’s new budget, bringing the project’s total funding closer to the estimated $11 million that it needs. And more may be on the way from the federal government.

The library plan, some 20 years in the making, already has benefited from an anonymous $3 million private donation last fall.

The project would remodel OB’s 5,095-square-foot San Diego Public Library branch and build a 4,205-square-foot extension. The proposal includes a new community meeting room, a teen area, an outdoor gathering space, office space, an expanded book collection area, new restrooms, new landscaping and more.

A rendering depicts the expansion plan for the Ocean Beach Library.
(City of San Diego)

The $4.5 million in state money was secured by state Sen. Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) — whose 39th District includes Ocean Beach — as part of the final 2022-23 budget signed June 30 by Gov. Gavin Newsom. The funds will be disbursed to the city of San Diego before the end of the year, according to Atkins’ press secretary, Cameron Sutherland.

“Libraries are a key component of our communities and a pathway to learning for so many, which is why I was pleased to secure $4.5 million in funding for the Ocean Beach Library expansion project as part of our state budget,” Atkins, the Senate president pro tem, said in a statement. “This investment will go a long way in enriching the lives of San Diegans, especially children and seniors, and widening literacy in our community.”

“Really incredible news,” said Corey Bruins, president of the Ocean Beach Town Council. “Looks like this expansion is going to get off the ground after decades of effort!”

Adding to the optimism is progress on a $4 million request for federal funding for the project that U.S. Rep. Scott Peters (D-La Jolla) submitted to the House Appropriations Committee at the end of April.

The Appropriations Committee approved the project last week, according to Daniela Contreras, press secretary for Peters, whose 52nd District includes Ocean Beach. Contreras said the full House of Representatives and the Senate still need to vote on the funding, and “we expect that to happen later this year.”

A rendering depicts a planned outdoor gathering space at the Ocean Beach Library.
A rendering depicts a planned outdoor gathering space at the Ocean Beach Library.
(City of San Diego)

The plan still will need a state-required coastal development permit to ensure compliance with the California Coastal Act.

The city library system will move forward with that process with the California Coastal Commission once it finishes gathering community input for the OB Library design, according to Jennifer McBride, senior public information officer for the city of San Diego.

She said the results of that input will be presented in August and that “the city will have a better idea of the total project cost” once the design is chosen and a construction team is hired.

When the city presented the library expansion plan at an Ocean Beach Planning Board meeting in November, some who attended were unhappy with the level of community involvement.

Shannon Stoks, an architectural designer for the San Diego Engineering & Capital Projects Department’s in-house design team, said during the presentation that the city intended to return for another presentation once the coastal development permit process had begun.

But several residents asked for more opportunities for public input on the design before the city applied for the CDP.

The OB Library, at 4801 Santa Monica Ave., is open from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays and 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays.


10:57 a.m. July 8, 2022: This article was updated with the latest estimate of the cost of the library project.


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