Construction on Austin's new multi-million dollar "Central Library" is entering its final chapter. The library is located in the "Seaholm District" which is one of fastest growing areas in downtown.
Construction crews are expected to wrap up work on the new Central Library by this summer. The $120 million project started almost 3 years ago.
"There is so much excitement and anticipation,” said Library spokesperson Kanya Lyons.
The project replaces the Faulk Central Library which was built in a rough concrete style that was popular during the 70's.
"In 1979 no one really, could predict the coming of the computer and that was something we were going to need to have in the library,” said Lyons.
The library seems to be following a new trend in the design of Austin high rises. It involves adding subtle features; which attract people like Phil Hoy to downtown.
"That’s what everybody likes about Austin, seeing the diversity, and all the changes taking place, its fund to see building that are not just cookie cutters so that will be a good addition,” said Hoy.
Some of the unique designs downtown include;
- The Frost Bank Tower, which has been described as a Transformer or owl.
- The Monarch residential building has a wing.
- The Palmer Events Center looks like a bat.
- Austin City Hall has what appears to be an armadillo tail coming out of the back of it.
- The condo known as the Independent , when built, will look like the game Jenga.
The top of the new library, to some, seems to be in the shape of a cowboy hat. Officially, it’s built that way to catch rainwater for flower gardens.
The new Central Library will have a collection of more than a half million books, some stored on shelves like these, others digitally. But the new design is not just about checking out books, there's going to be a lot of new features available.
"It’s really about building community, and a community space, that everyone is entitled to go to, and to visit, and to kind of take part in a larger conversation and an exchange of ideas, almost like a meeting place of the minds,” said Lyons.
The new library will feature a restaurant, an art gallery, as well as an innovation center featuring a 3-D printer. There will also be a rooftop garden and an amphitheater. The interior of the building is designed to expand in order to meet future needs.
"The floors are actually raised up, so there is cabling and wires underneath, so we can continue to add computers or whatever the technology is at that time to serve the needs of the community,” said Lyons.
The building was designed with the goal of it being viable for 100 years.
Grand opening for the new library is set for November. The old library building will be turned over to the Austin History Center, and will be used for storage.