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One Year Later: Central Library Project Approaches Groundbreaking Ceremony
By Arlington Public Library
Posted on December 23, 2015, December 23, 2015

The passing of time is not always readily apparent in physical structures, but downtown Arlington saw one particularly big change during 2015 that regular commuters on Abram Street likely took note of: the demolition of the George W. Hawkes Central Library building.

One year ago today, on December 23, 2014, the George W. Hawkes Library closed its doors for the last time. In the year that has followed, plans for the library's new flagship location have steadily evolved and progressed, and the building that once occupied the space at 101 E. Abram Street has been leveled and cleared to make way for a new downtown development.

"We plan to finalize construction documents for the new Central Library by the end of December," Director of Libraries Cary Siegfried said. "It's exciting to move into 2016, because this will be the year when the new Central Library becomes more than sketches on paper. It becomes a physical reality that people will see developing in the heart of downtown."

Groundbreaking for the new library, which will be located north of City Hall and west of Center Street, is estimated for mid-March. Construction is expected to continue through December of 2017, with a grand opening celebration in early spring of 2018. The Arlington City Council approved design plans for the exterior design of the facility in mid-September, images of which can be viewed by clicking here.

Arlington residents can visit any of the Library's seven locations across the city while construction of the new Central Library takes place. The Central Express facility, located at 200 N. Cooper Street, is currently operating as the temporary downtown library during the transition, and offers computer access, Wi-Fi connectivity, new adult and children's materials, high demand DVDs, and holds pickup.

Updates regarding the Central Library Project will continue to be shared online at and on the library's main website,

Central Library Project Construction Timeline:

  • December 31, 2015: Construction documents finalized
  • February 28, 2016: Construction costs finalized
  • March 8, 2016: Construction contract presented to City Council
  • Mid-March: Groundbreaking ceremony
  • December 2017: Construction complete
  • Early 2018: Move in furniture, equipment, and collection
  • Early spring 2018: Central Library grand opening
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