CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The Kanawha County Public Library Board of Trustees received an update on the multi-million dollar project for the Charleston downtown library on Monday.
Stan Howell, director of marketing and development for the Kanawha County Public Library (KCPL), said all signs point to the library opening on Monday, April 2, 2022. He said it was ‘a tentative date and subject to change, but is confident based on what the library has heard from contractors.
Ben Thomas, who sits on KCPL’s board of directors and its construction committee, told meeting attendees that much of the interior was nearing completion, but work was being feverishly underway at the outside the site. He admitted that contractors have had issues with COVID over the past year, which has impacted schedules.
âWe are in the last sections of the hard construction part of this project. We are looking to see the construction aspects with the general contractor completed in early December, âsaid Thomas.
The $ 32 million renovations to KCPL’s iconic Downtown Library building include an aerial bridge connecting the library to the Summer Street parking garage. The concrete pouring was there in May.
In addition to the Sky Bridge, the project will add 28,000 square feet of new space to the original building, along with additional community rooms, new technology, an expanded children’s floor, a small cafe, and more, according to a statement.
The size of the facility will be reduced from 53,000 square feet to 81,000 square feet.
Howell said the library is planning a 100-day campaign to celebrate the first 100 days of the facility during the months of April, May and June. An opening gala is scheduled for April 1 with dignitaries, civic leaders and library officials. On April 2, the library plans to hold an open house for the public. Howell said a staff event is also planned.
The 100 Days celebration also includes a children’s gala on April 29 at the fourth-floor children’s center. An authors event is scheduled for May 21 with writers from West Virginia. A used book sale will be held as part of the FestivALL street fair in June.
Howell told the council the schedule will remain filled with the library’s regular programs during the 100-day celebration.
âOur story hour, our STEM program and our team activities would follow the major events that we have planned,â he said.
Erika Connelly, the director of the library, said discussions were intensifying for a plan to relocate from the current downtown Charleston location. She added that moving plan consultant Bill Overton will be in town in Boston next week to do a roundup with officials.
In June 2020, library officials opened a location in downtown Charleston for a branch while the downtown location was closed.