Newark Public Library (NPL) is a significant institution in the life of the City of Newark, with a diverse community engaged in a wide range of their programs and services. The Main Library, located in a historic building at 5 Washington Street in downtown Newark, NJ, is an original 1901 building with subsequent additions constructed in 1921, 1930 and finally in 1949 an Annex Service Building was added abutting the rear Essex Street and connected by an enclosed heated corridor. With the last major renovation of the building having occurred back in the early 1980’s, the facility was in need of an upgrade to bring it up to modern Library standards.

Legacy Engineers’ President & Principal, John Rice, has been engaged with NPL since 2016 working with them on the development and implementation of NPL’s Engineering Master Plan, for a vision of a facility of the future where they’ve completed a phased replacement of their old, antiquated, leaking, fossil fuel burning building systems with new state-of-the-art, energy efficient, environmentally friendly systems. Legacy Engineers provided consulting engineering services for NPL on a series of implementation projects, as follows:

Priority Project – 4th Floor HVAC Upgrade

The upgrade of the HVAC system serving the 4th Floor Auditorium was a Priority Project for NPL. The Auditorium was one of only two large venue spaces in the Library and was normally widely used, however, it was currently out of use with a non-functioning air conditioning system. The 4th Floor was served by a 40-year old water-cooled chiller located in the basement that was leaking environmentally toxic R-11 refrigerant.

This was the first project in the implementation of NPL’s master plan. A variable refrigerant flow (VRF) air-cooled heat pump system would provide both cooling and heating, allowing these spaces to be weaned off the fossil fuel burning boiler and to decommission the existing leaking chiller. Another benefit of the VRF system was that it modular in nature and allowed for the phased implementation to state-of-the-art, energy efficient, environmentally friendly systems.

Superior indoor air quality is achieved by the ventilation and filtration systems. A new dedicated outdoor air system (DOAS) provides fresh air to all spaces; a roof mounted energy recovery ventilator supplies outside air in response to indoor CO2 level. A bi-polar ionization air purification system, installed in the DOAS supply air ductwork, cleans the indoor air similar to Newark Public Library – Main Library (continued) how the sun cleans outdoor air; positive and negative oxygen ions are emitted into the airstream and are effective in removing particulates in air and for deactivating bacteria, fungi and viruses in the air and on surfaces.

Second Floor Roth Reading Room & Centennial Hall

Literary giant Phillip Roth spent much of his career at his hometown library, NPL, for writing and using reference material. Upon his recent death, he endowed his reference collection and furniture from his home office to the Library; the terms were that they had a 3-year time period to complete renovation of the space to house the collection. NPL identified a space on the 2nd floor, however it had two air conditioning units suspended from the ceiling, that served the adjacent Centennial Hall, that would have to be removed.

So, the project scope was to provide new heating and air conditioning systems for both spaces, integrated into the new interior architecture of what would become the new Phillip Roth Reading Room and the existing grand and architecturally ornate Centennial Hall.

A VRF air-cooled heat pump system was selected, building upon NPL’s engineering master plan of phasing off the fossil fuel burning boiler to state-of-the-art, energy efficient, environmentally friendly systems. The consisting of roof mounted condensing units serving indoor vertical console indoor units hidden in the architectural wainscoting beneath the windows, provide both cooling and heating. Indoor energy recovery ventilators supply outside ventilation air in response to indoor CO2 level.

Third Floor New Jersey Room & Basement Storage Feasibility Study

This 3rd Floor NJ Room & Basement Storage project focuses on the renovation of 8,400 GSF on the third floor of the main branch of the Newark Public Library, to create a revitalized Charles F. Cummings New Jersey Information Center (“The New Jersey Room”) and the renovation of a portion of the NPL basement to create a compact shelving archival storage area.

There was no archival-quality storage in the existing New Jersey Room and the Basement was heated only, unfinished space. The Study explored the feasibility of creating climate-controlled areas for the conservation of the paper and photo collection resources already in the Library’s possession, and to establish a standard of conservation that will attract important future donations. The Basement was analyzed for climate-controlled storage to relieve the Library of costly rental obligations for offsite storage.

Legacy Engineers developed a scheme that utilized a VRF system for normal space heating and cooling and Liebert climate control systems with cooling, reheat, dehumidification and humidification capabilities for the archival storage areas.

Newark Public Library Development Master Plan

Libraries must evolve in order to meet the changing needs of their communities. The leadership at Newark Public Library recognized that sustaining the Library’s success and to ensure it continues to meet its mission into the 21st Century, required a careful assessment of the building’s suitability for its current and future needs. To this end, NPL initiated a master planning process.

Newark Public Library – Main Library (continued)

Legacy Engineers was among a team of architects, engineers and construction management firms in developing NPL’s Master Plan. The Master Plan explored three (3) different options for the optimization of the existing building and either, renovating the Annex Building, or demolishing it and constructing a new building in its place.

• Option 1 – Renovate the Main Library & Annex Buildings

• Option 2 – Build an Addition to the Main Library in place of the Annex Building

• Option 3 – Developer-built Residential Tower in place of the Annex Building with Library occupying first 3-Stories.

For each option, Legacy evaluated the requirements for upgrading the mechanical, electrical and plumbing and life safety systems and specified a Baseline versus an Alternate mechanical scheme.

• Baseline Scheme: Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF)

• Alternate Scheme: Air-Cooled Chiller & Gas-fired Hot Water Boiler with 4-Pipe FCU’s