Construction of $30 Million Downtown Library Underway
By Susan Schrock
Posted on August 23, 2016, August 23, 2016

Construction of the $30 million future Downtown Library is underway.

The 80,000-square-foot, three-story library is expected to open in June 2018 just north of Arlington City Hall. Work began earlier this month on what was previously the public parking lot for City Hall.

The future George W. Hawkes Downtown Library, whose design was guided by the Central Visioning project that the City launched in 2009, will provide cultural, recreational and learning opportunities for youth, seniors and families.

"We're so excited to see the community's vision for a vibrant, state-of-the-art downtown library become reality," Libraries Director Yoko Matsumoto said. "This building's built-in flexibility will allow the library to nimbly adapt as the public's demands for library programming, meeting and study space and technology needs change over time."

Features will include spaces for children and teens that are conducive to learning and creating, a literacy center for new adult learners and GED preparation, more space for collections, more reading areas, nearly 140 computers and mobile devices, and community meeting spaces. An outdoor plaza in front of the library, which is also expected to feature a rooftop garden, will add leisure space to the downtown area.

Million Downtown Library Underway

A look at the current construction for the Downtown Library Project adjacent to Arlington City Hall.

The 35-year-old City Council Chamber, adjacent to City Hall, was also demolished as part of the library project. A new 6,500-square-foot facility for City Council and Planning and Zoning Commission meetings, library programming and other public meeting space needs is expected to open between City Hall and the future library in March 2018.

Until the new facility opens, all future Arlington City Council and Planning and Zoning Commission evening meetings will be held in the City Council Briefing Room on the 3rd Floor of Arlington City Hall, located at 101 W. Abram St.

The library/council chambers project is largely funded by certificates of obligation, which are repaid through property tax revenue, as well as a $4.1 million grant from the Arlington Tomorrow Foundation and a $1.3 million contribution from the Parks gas well fund.

The Arlington Library Foundation is still working to raise about $3 million in private donations to help pay for furniture, fixtures and the latest technology for the future library as part of the Dream Central capital campaign.

Million Downtown Library Underway

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