North East Library Slated for $10 Million Renovation
by Larry Janezich
At Tuesday night’s Capitol Hill Restoration Society Board meeting, Vince Morris, President, Friends of North East Library, outlined the city’s plans for a $10 million one year renovation of the building.
Morris told the Board that the project anticipates returning the interior of the library to the way it was built in the 1930’s. DC Public Libraries, he said, has committed to making the library’s appearance consistent with the original library. The Georgian Revival Style Building was built in 1931.
Most of the budget will be used for critical upgrades of systems, including replacing the elevator, wiring, lighting, plumbing, bathrooms, and heating and cooling systems. In addition, a fire suppression system will be installed and the building brought up to code for ADA Compliance. An exterior improvement project featuring landscaping, brick and stonework, and new windows was completed in the summer of 2010.
While the renovation is underway, the building will likely be closed. The budget provides for interim space during this period, though details were not immediately available.
The Library is seizing this opportunity reach out to the community, with the Friends of the Library as the nexus for distribution of information. Morris is hoping people who want to be involved will attend meetings sponsored by the library this fall, where input will be solicited regarding what the community would like to see in the new facility.
The tentative project time line is as follows:
October 2011 – Awarding of the construction contract
November 2011 – May 2012 – Design Phase
May 2012 – May 2013 – Construction Phase
June 2013 – Reopening of the Library
Following the meeting, Morris issued a strong appeal to members of the community to contribute time and energy to the Friends of North East Library, noting the importance of the library to the community. He attributed his own involvement to the frequency with which his three young children use the library and said it is especially important for parents, such as himself, to participate in and support the activities of the library.
The Friends of the Library associations are comprised of neighborhood volunteers. The organization promotes the library and its programs, serves as a liaison to the community, and raises funds through sale of donated books. The funds are used to support library programs and expenses for the library which fall outside of the city’s budget.