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Final meetings on five library renovations in Atlanta; Central Library’s redesign continues quietly

By David Pendered

The Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System has scheduled its final round of meetings to provide information about construction projects at seven library branches. Five branches in this round of renovation work are in Atlanta and construction on some is to begin in April.

Meanwhile, the design work to renovate the Marcel Breuer-designed Central Library continues out of the public eye in the offices of Cooper Carry – The Center for Connective Architecture.

The latest update about Central Library issued by library officials advised that renovation is expected to begin this autumn. A completion date has not been announced. Last year, a contract to store materials during construction predicted a three-year construction cycle. Before controversy arose over the fate of Central Library, the timeline for the library system’s overall building programs called for all work to be complete in late 2020.

Central Library could have met its fate in the form of a wrecking ball. Some public officials wanted to build a new structure that struck a different tone from Breuer’s brutalist creation. In the end, the decision was made to renovate a building that represents the culmination of Maynard Jackson’s two terms as Atlanta mayor and Atlanta’s arrival on the global stage of modern cities.

Regarding the renovation of the seven library branches, these meetings are being billed as the final “sneak peek” at design plans. Members of the design/build team are to be available to answer questions. This is the last round of meetings scheduled with the public before construction begins.

All meetings are slated from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on the following dates and locations, according to the schedule the library system released:

  • Tuesday Feb 20th– Dogwood Library, 1838 Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway, Atlanta;
  • Thursday Feb 22nd– West End Library, 525 Peeples St., Atlanta;
  • Tuesday Feb 27th – Roswell Library, 115 Norcross St., Roswell.

These meetings relate to the construction work scheduled at the seven libraries, for which Hogan Construction Group, LLC has announced the following schedule:

kirkwood library

The Kirkwood Library is slated to be renovated in a construction period set to begin in April and conclude in July. Credit: atlantapublicschools.us

  • Sandy Springs Library – April through October;
  • Dogwood Library – November through February 2019;
  • Southwest Library – April through October;
  • Roswell Library– October through May 2019;
  • Kirkwood Library – April through July;
  • Washington Park Library – July through October;
  • West End Library – April 2018 through July.

Hogan was awarded a contract to handle the work at all seven libraries. Fulton County’s Board of Commissioners approved a total not-to-exceed price of $12.6 million for these seven projects.

The renovation of these seven libraries is included in the work envisioned in the library bond referendum that Fulton voters approved in 2008. The $275 million capital improvement program is distributed throughout the county.

Central Library, planes

Saved from potential demolition, Central Library’s contents are to be moved and stored for three years while the building is renovated. File/Credit: David Pendered

To pay for construction, Fulton County has issued three tranches of bonds that are backed by the county’s property tax revenues, and other revenues that represent the county’s “full faith and credit.”

In 2017, the county issued $104.8 million in bonds, according to the bond’s official statement. Interest rates range from 5 percent to 3.125 percent.

In 2010, the county issued a tranche of $33.8 million and another in the amount of $133.2 million. Of this $167 million in issued debt, $142.2 million remains outstanding, according to the official statement for the 2017 bonds.

The money is intended to implement the Library Facility Master Plan. It called for building and equipping eight new library facilities; renovating and expanding two exisiting libraries; and renovating all other exisiting library facilities that are owned by the county.


David Pendered

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with more than 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow.


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