ReCAP planning began in February 1999. Ground was broken August 2000 for the state-of-the-art preservation repository modeled on the Harvard Depository. The current facility footprint is 163,847 square feet, and includes a processing area, offices, and the seven storage modules. ReCAP is currently evaluating its further site development, including improvements within its existing structures and the future development of new storage modules
ReCAP's design uses steel frame tilt-up concrete walls, floors of "very flat" construction, and a steel roof covered in a water-resistant membrane and stone ballast. The interior walls are high density refrigerator foam insulation with a metal cladding, that aids in maintaining temperature and humidity control. The modules have no windows and the only roof penetrations are located over a mezzanine area separate from the collections storage, with the exception of a mid-module smoke release hatch. These hatches are located primarily over open aisle space, and are surrounded by a protective flashing to prevent water infiltration.
The processing area is 151 feet long by 130 feet wide or 20,736 square feet. The office area is 4,181 square feet. The ReCAP facility is modular by design, so additional shelving modules can be added as needed. The site will allow for the eventual construction amounting to 252,000 square feet of storage space for more than 37 million items.
ReCAP's initial phase consisted of Modules 1-3 for storing items, a film vault, and fork lift charging room, along the west side of the site, with an adjacent office area and processing center that includes five receiving docks, two for van access and three for semi truck deliveries. Module 4 came online in 2005 and Module 5 opened in March, 2008. The high-density library shelving Modules 1-4 are each approximately 210 feet long, 70 feet wide and 38 feet high, with 6 aisles and 14,700 square feet each. ReCAP's Module 5 is 232 feet long, 114 feet wide with 10 aisles and 26,450 square feet. Each aisle in Modules 1-4 holds approximately 267,000 books, and the slightly longer aisles in Module 5 hold approximately 300,000 each. The current total holdings of the west side Modules are 10.6 million items.
Modules 8 and 9 opened the summer of 2013 on the east side of the site, with space for 12 aisles each, and an average per-aisle capacity of 330,000 items. Modules 8 and 9 are 232 feet long, 120 feet wide with 12 aisles each and 27,840 square feet each.