By Jeff Morris, WCHS News | November 2017
CHARLESTON, WV (WCHS/WVAH) — The Kanawha County Public Library, whose leaders had previously explored the idea of building a new library at a new location, will be staying at its current site in downtown Charleston and will undergo additions and renovations estimated to cost $27 million.
Library officials in a news release Tuesday said the project for the current Capitol Street building will break ground in the fall 2018 and the additions and renovations are expected to take 18 to 24 months. The renovations and additions include:
-Twenty-thousand new square feet, almost all of which will be public space, added to the west and south sides of the existing library building.
-A new main entrance at the corner of Summers and Quarrier streets.
-Large and small meeting rooms for library and public functions that can handle from two to 200 people.
-A light-filled, updated 10,000 square feet children’s department with space for story time, crafts and many other activities.
-A “maker” space that will allow patrons to imagine and create.
-A new proposed third floor walkway that will be connected to the Summers Street Parking Garage.
Library officials said they plan to raise 80 percent of the funds privately and already had secured some of the money from previous fundraising efforts.
The news release will honor the classic structure of the existing building exterior while adding modern, light-filled glass additions that will increase public space and provide improved patron accessibility.
The current library is 60,000 square feet and the building is 100 years old. Part of the project focuses on bringing the building’s systems up to code and improving energy efficiency.