Mayor Christian Price, center, cuts the ribbon for the new Maricopa Library and Cultural Center. Helping to hold the ribbon are, from left, Councilmember Bob Marsh, Councilmember Henry Wade, Vice Mayor Nancy Smith, Councilmember Vincent Manfredi, City Manager Rick Horst, and Councilmember Rich Vitiello. Photo by Jay Taylor

The City of Maricopa unveiled its newest asset Friday with city officials, leaders and staff, and businesspeople gathering to mark the opening of the Maricopa Library and Cultural Center.

The official grand opening event will take place Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. with public tours, presentations, family activities and a book sale. The library will then open for business at 1 p.m.

The 27,000-square-foot facility was planned as a community gathering spot, with many opportunities to engage residents in programs. There are 21 rooms and gathering spaces in the building, which was constructed in just one year and came in under budget.

Mayor Christian Price hailed the facility as visionary.

“Frankly, this is what libraries of the future are all about,” he said. “It’s not just about books, it’s about the entertainment, it’s about the learning, and all of the various ways and forms that it comes nowadays.”

Vice Mayor Nancy Smith echoed the sentiments of many of the day’s speakers who hailed the facility as having something for everyone.

“Who uses a library anymore?” she asked. “Well, come to find out that the Maricopa Library is one of the most used in Pinal County, because people come in masses to the little library we had here. “This new library is going to bring generations of different types of people together here.”

The library was designed to make use of natural light, creating a bright, airy feel. The meeting rooms sit behind glass walls, enhancing the feeling of space, and in addition to the various meeting rooms inside the building, the library and cultural center features multiple outdoor meeting spaces and an outdoor stage.

Built with expansion in mind, the library can add up to 25,000 square feet of space with minimal disruption and reduced construction costs.

Councilmember Bob Marsh, whose grandmother, mother, and daughter are all librarians, was particularly proud of what the city has accomplished.

“I’m very excited. This is a library of the future,” he said. “It’s different from any library I’ve ever seen – it’s got so much more, with something for all ages. There’s a room down here with a 3D printer. Kids can learn to code – the stuff I learned at MIT, they can get here in their teens. It’s a new heart and soul for the city of Maricopa.”