Wednesday, February 12, 2020

When the East Library and Recreation Center opens this October, its world-class design and innovative features won't just be on the inside.

The City of Arlington has partnered with the UT Arlington College of Architecture, Planning and Public Affairs to create a design for an outdoor community working space with a technology-centered innovation zone.

“This partnership allows us to achieve three City priorities: Put technology to work, champion great neighborhoods and support youth and families. We can’t wait to see what the students design,” said City of Arlington Assistant City Manager Jennifer Wichmann.

Early on, graduate students were tasked with creating a space that is interactive, flexible and social. They must also incorporate some of the same technology available inside the library and recreation center.

With a goal of creating a space that truly serves the neighborhood, students have begun engaging the East Arlington community. They're gathering resident feedback now to guide the design process. Portions of their research will include studying how current patrons of the Hugh Smith Recreation Center and the East Branch Library already use the space.

“The hope is that it will really be something that they [the community] feel excited about and they want to use,” UTA professor Michael Zaretsky told The Shorthorn.

The pods are funded through a $750,000 Texas Library and Archives Commission Grant. Arlington voters approved funding for the $26 million, 47,249-square-foot facility in the 2014 Bond Election.