Construction has started for the $4.1 million renovation of the Jones Creek Regional Library branch, which is being expanded with an updated children’s section, meeting rooms and digital labs.
Work on the branch will be completed in two phases, says Assistant Library Director Mary Stein. The first phase reworks the adult side of the library, adding small meeting rooms and making some visual changes. The bulk of the renovations will be completed in the second phase, which includes a 3,000-square-foot addition to the children’s section, renovated bathrooms and computer training labs. Following renovations, the library’s staff will also utilize a shared workspace instead of individual offices.
The contract for the work is for a period of 18 months, but Stein is optimistic construction could be completed in a year. This is the first major renovation for the branch, according to Stein, and it was closed Monday and Tuesday for the start of construction.
“This is a very active branch,” Stein says. “The renovations will give us more of a variety to offer patrons.”
Work on other branches in the library system are also moving forward.
A deal for an 85,528-square-foot site—at the intersection of Glasgow Avenue and Tupello Street—for a neighborhood library branch in Southdowns is expected to close in the next two weeks, according to Stein. The Metro Council approved the $1.7 million purchase in October, which is expected to provide enough room for a roughly 16,000-square-foot neighborhood branch.
An RFP for an architect will be issued through the city-parish architectural services division sometime this year, Stein says, adding she expects ground to break on the project next year.
The proposed Southdowns library has a budget of some $6.75 million, which was set aside years ago by the East Baton Rouge Library Board of Control.
After months of stalls, construction for downtown’s long-delayed River Center Branch Library is on track to finish before Halloween, with Stein expecting the library system to take control of the building before December. It’ll take a few months to move the collection over, but she anticipates an early 2020 opening for the branch.
Expected to reopen nearly the same time as the River Center branch is the Greenwell Springs Regional Branch, which flooded in August 2016. The system will move into the first half of the renovated building next month, with Stein expecting the project to wrap up around next spring.