The Woodbridge area could see its aging county library and senior center replaced in the coming years.
The Prince William Board of County Supervisors has approved $930,000 in July to begin work on the replacement of the Potomac Community Library and the Woodbridge Senior Center. The plan calls for either remodeling the Potomac Community Library or building a new library to replace it somewhere nearby.
The board of supervisors and county officials “will be analyzing multiple options for each project, including re-use of current buildings, new buildings on current sites, and new buildings on new sites,” said Eric Brunner, assistant director for the county’s facilities construction management.
“Prince William County is at the very beginning of the masterplan process for all three sites,” Brunner said.
The Potomac Community Library, constructed in 1975, is the second oldest library in the county’s library system. It was renovated in 1983. A garden enhancement project was completed in 2011. The roof of the library was replaced in 2013.
The library has inadequate space for community meetings and public computers and its bathrooms are not ADA compliant, according to a county staff report. Demand by patrons at the library exceeds availability in the existing space and is “woefully inadequate,” the report said.
“The various population groups who frequent the current Potomac Community Library are poorly served by the existing facilities. A new, modernized facility that could accommodate current and future needs would be greatly welcomed by current and future patrons,” the report said.
The Woodbridge Senior Center building, which serves hundreds of elderly patrons every year, including those enrolled in “Meals on Wheels,” is also aging. The senior center was built in the early 1980s. At its current size – about 12,000 square feet – the senior center does not have enough space for the population it serves.
The existing Woodbridge Senior Center served over 525 patrons in 2020, or about 23,000 visits per year, according to county officials. The center served over 22,000 meals to 237 Meals on Wheels participants.
The county is exploring whether it will construct a new building on-site, re-use the existing facility or look elsewhere for the new senior center. The county will also examine whether to “co-locate” a new library on the same site as the new senior center, according to the staff report.
The new Woodbridge library is proposed to keep up with the projected growth of the Woodbridge area. The county estimated in 2019 that the area will add approximately 44,000 new residents in the area by 2040, especially as the county continues its buildout of the North Woodbridge “Small Area Plan.”
The small area plan includes plans for higher-density residential development and redevelopment along the Route 1 corridor near the Occoquan River and the Fairfax County line. It includes an expansion of the existing Belmont Bay community, as well as redevelopment along the west side of the Route 1 near the riverfront.
The county estimates that the growth in the area will require over 20,000 square feet of new library space by 2040.
Woodbridge Supervisor Margaret Franklin (D) has been supportive of efforts to create a new library and replace the existing library and a senior center in her district.
“We are on the brink of transforming the Route 1 corridor by renaming Jefferson Davis Highway, improving economic development opportunities, and modernizing critical services including the senior center facility and the potential for a new or remodeled library,” Franklin said in a press release. “Our residents deserve the best that the county has to offer.”
Correction: The initial version of this story incorrectly reported there would be two new libraries in Woodbridge. Only one new library is being considered in the Woodbridge area. The county is considering whether to create a brand-new library on a new location or whether it will remodel the existing Potomac Community Library. We regret the error.