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Santa Barbara Council to Consider Contractor for Construction of New Children’s Library

Construction of a brand new Children’s Library within the Santa Barbara Central Library downtown will begin in early 2015 after city officials grant final approval Tuesday.

The Santa Barbara City Council was expected to tap Oxnard-based Viola Inc. to spearhead the Children’s Library Renovation project for a $1,497,296 contract during the consent-item portion of Tuesday’s meeting.

Officials were also asked to approve up to $225,000 to cover any cost increases from changes made before a tentative Children’s Library completion date of mid-2015 at the main library at 40 E. Anapamu St. — a branch that hasn’t been remodeled since 1980.

Project funds were raised via a public-private partnership between the city, Friends of the Santa Barbara Central Library and the Santa Barbara Public Library Foundation.

The Library Gift Fund will chip in $450,000, along with more than $772,000 in donations collected by the Santa Barbara Public Library Foundation, according to the Santa Barbara Public Works Department.

The balance of $500,000 will come from general fund revenues, but private sponsorships were still being sought this week, supervising engineer Mike Wiltshire told Noozhawk.

Design plans moved forward in March, when City Council approved a contract with LPA Inc. Viola subsequently came back with the lowest of three contractor bids.

Wiltshire said construction could begin in February and last four to six months.

The project requires relocating the existing children’s section from the main level to the lower level, where a state-of-the-art Children’s Library will provide youngsters with a space more than four times the current 1,500 square feet.

The renovation includes adding more main floor seating and electrical outlets, as well as new Children’s Library restrooms and updated existing bathrooms, said Scott Love, library services manager.

Construction shouldn’t disrupt the public too much, Love said, since most main floor changes won’t occur until after the Children’s Library is built on the lower level.

Two large desks on the main floor will be removed as early as January, he said, and a smaller desk visible from the main entrance will take its place. A new technology room was also in the works.

“There’s still a lot to be ironed out,” Love said, adding the library hopes to create an endowment for future service.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff 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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