By Leonard Kniffel
American Libraries, Sat, 07/17/2010 – 16:57
Despite the continued economic downturn, at least three significant construction projects in Virginia are continuing as originially proposed.
Plans for a new main library in are “on schedule,” Norfolk (Va.) Public Library Director Norman Maas told American Libraries July 13. “We hope to have the new building open in the next 36 months, and another year of renovation to follow on the original historic library structure.”
“Funding for this project remains solid,” Maas noted, “with good progress being made currently in building programming and design.” Actual construction should begin in the next 12-18 months, he added, saying “candidly, to be planning for a state-of-the-art new main library in this economic climate is a real blessing for our community. Considering our libraries in Norfolk are busier than we have ever been, this new facility will be a great new library asset to our community.”
Norfolk Mayor Paul Fraim announced earlier this year that Newman Architects, an architectural firm from New Haven, Connecticut, will lead the creative team in designing the new Colonel Samuel L. Slover Memorial Main Library in downtown Norfolk.
Elsewhere in Virginia, more good news about new construction is helping libraries bear the brunt of the nation’s economic downturn, as plans continue to enjoy popular support in Petersburg and Hopewell.
The Petersburg Library Foundation says the city’s new library is expected to cost 25% less than expected, or about $12.7 million, because of lower costs for construction rather than any cutbacks in the design of the facility. The Petersburg Progress-Index reported June 17 that foundation already has about $7.1 million in funding commitments in hand.
The architect for the Petersburg project is the hometown firm of Enteros Design, which recently designed a new Hopewell-based Appomattox Regional Library System branch currently under construction in Prince George.
Petersburg Library Director Wayne Crocker told the Progress-Index, “I am looking forward to the day when we can have 300 or 400 kids come to the kickoff of the summer reading program in the library itself,” noting that the current facility is too small to accommodate all of those who want to attend. The Petersburg design was created with input from library staff and the public and will feature a 300-seat auditorium, a café, wireless access, a large computer area, more shelf space for books and media, improved accessibility, and a parking lot.