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Local News

Council Approves Final Design Contract for Phase 1 of Children’s Library Project

Construction is on track to start in December, and will move the library downstairs, add restrooms and allow for renovations to the main floor

The Santa Barbara City Council has approved a design contract for the Children’s Library project, which will be located in the lower level of the Central Library downtown.

That branch at 40 E. Anapamu St. hasn’t been renovated since 1980, and needs a separate space for children and families, library staff said.

Phase 1 of the project will move the children’s library downstairs, add restrooms, and do some renovations to the main floor.

Now that the council has approved a contract for the final design work, construction is on track to start in December, facilities manager Jim Dewey said.

The final design for Phase 1 will cost $357,601, and the council approved a contract with LPA Inc. on Tuesday.

That money will come from the Fenton Davison Trust (which bequeathed the majority of the cost with $212,601), the Peggy Maximus Trust and miscellaneous gift funds, according to the city.

Funding for this project is a public-private partnership between the city and community organizations such as the Friends of the Santa Barbara Central Library and the newly formed Santa Barbara Public Library Foundation.

They’ve been steadily fundraising and are in the “quiet phase” — attracting larger donors before they announce a public campaign. As of February, they raised $2.3 million for the project and the city gave a $500,000 matching grant

Construction for Phase 1 will cost about $2.7 million, according to city staff.

Library director Irene Macias said she thinks the second phase will cost much more, around $7 million, which is why the project is being split into two parts.

Relocating and renovating the children’s library was the most desired part and had a more modest cost, so the library wanted to pursue that first, she told the City Council.

Phase 2 will modify the stairwell between floors, add an elevator, reorganize staff offices, add a study room on the upper level, and possibly add a café or bookstore, according to the city.

The library wants to feature popular materials and market them more like a bookstore, not stacked spine-to-spine but with their covers on display, Macias said. When the San Jose Public Library did that, it was able to get higher circulation with fewer materials, she said.

Construction for Phase 1 won’t be overlapping with the library plaza remodeling or Phase 2, which is probably several years away, Macias said.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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