Photos by Will Davison
It’s really not graffiti if it’s inside the building. Like really inside, on a beam more than 50 feet over people’s heads. Right?
A 14-foot high, cupola frame, comprised of four tons of steel beams, greeted the 50 or so souls who braved the heat for the “roof raising” at the site of the new Old Town Newhall library.
A basket of Sharpies was the invitation to scribble a sentiment and each made their mark – some conservatively, with only a signature, others including the names of their family members and some added a comment or two.
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“This is MONUMENTAL!” one city staffer wrote, in a style reminiscent of John Hancock on the Declaration of Independence.
Significant progress has been made on the construction of the 30,000 square foot library, raising up from the corner of Lyons Avenue and Main Street and it’s easy to see how the structure will soon dominate the landscape.
“When developers saw this starting to go up, they came to us and wanted to know what it was,” said Santa Clarita Mayor Marsha McLean. “We’re going to have wonderful things here.”
McLean hosted a short ceremony, celebrating the progress on the building and noting its coming highlights, including 74 public use computers, a children’s library, study and community rooms and a fireplace reading room.
“And, we’re on schedule to open in mid-2012,” she said.
As the mayor spoke, the construction crew started up the crane that would lift the beams high above the crowd, who watched in hushed admiration as it went higher, higher and higher before settling into slots. The structures towers over what used to be a high point on the block, the rocket outside of the American Legion Hall across the street.
It reminded some of Lincoln Logs. Really heavy Lincoln Logs.
“This tower is a significant element and will become a focal point of Old Town Newhall,” McLean said. “At completion, it will be 60 feet in height and will be seen throughout the area will symbolize a commitment and dedication towards lifelong learning and the impact a library can have on a community.”
She said that details on the tower and within the library will link the past of Old Town Newhall to its “vibrant and exciting future.”
The base of the tower will include a children’s story room.
Once the top was up, the mayor turned her attention to another youthful project, a time capsule, painted by members of the Legacy Club at the Newhall Community Center.
“It’s a garden of handprint flowers, with the top resembling the sun,” she explained.
Several of the artists had written their wishes for the future on the sunny side, sharing their hopes and dreams for life in 2061.
“I hope I have a beautiful family and have had a wonderful career as a police officer,” wrote Miguel Chavez, 11.
“I hope that in 50 years I have had an amazingly successful job as a choreographer or model and have two kids named Gizelle Maricella and Johanathan Edguardo,” write Danielle Huerta, 12.
“I hope that I am a happy and successful OB-GYN that helps women give birth and that the children at the community center are happy and that I am there when this time capsule is opened,” write Alejandra Alamo, 14.
Philanthropy is also a virtue of the future, according to one artist.
“I hope I am on Broadway and have made a lot of money so that I can donate money to the city of Santa Clarita and the community center,” from Jordan Emerson-White, 13.
The time capsule is already a quarter-full with contributions from community members, schools, nonprofit groups and some of the council members individually and there is still time to make your contribution.
“During the last several weeks we invited community to include items,” McLean said, sorting through the items, which included a picture of the Hart High Cheerleading squad, a coffee cup and memorabilia from Soroptimist International, an athletic letter from Saugus High, pictures from the SCV Boys and Girls Club, packages of pictures and notes and artwork from families, samples of all 10 designs of Santa Clarita Library cards, programs and information about community groups. A playlist of today’s popular songs was included with the KHTS items.
As the items were examined, some people wondered if they would even be readable in 50 years – not because anything would have deteriorated, but because of technology’s rapid changes.
“There is still room, so we’re going to extend the time as to when you can contribute,” McLean said. The new deadline will be announced soon.
This time capsule is the second recently buried by the city; another was buried at the Jan Heidt Metrolink Station in Newhall.
“Back in year 2000 when we buried the time capsule at the Newhall station, I put in a letter from the SCV Canyons Preservation Committee, of which I was president, that it was my dream by the time it was opened that Elsmere Canyon would be saved from being a dump and would be in public ownership.
“Well, guess what, that dream has come true, so I’m putting that letter in here stating that dreams do come true and that my next dream for the future is that we have a wonderful transportation system here in California like the maglev train system,” she said. “Hopefully in 2061, that dream will come true.”
Asked what the library meant to the community, she said “This just shows how much our city council really cares about our libraries and the future of our children, that we have dedicated this 30,000 square foot library, not just for the Newhall community, but for the entire Santa Clarita community. It will be the focal point for revitalizing Old Town Newhall.”
Progress on library construction can be watched 24/7 by clicking here.