With a few months to go until summer, the neighborhood’s new East Boston Branch Library on Bremen Street is right on track and close to being done. Anyone driving past the construction site over the past few weeks can see the steel framing has been covered with walls and one can now get a real sense of how the future library will look.
Construction of the new 14,600 square foot, $11.3 million began in the spring 2012 and according to workers at the site things are moving smoothly.
A summer and fall filled with a lot of good weather has made for a construction season with little or no obstacles—and with only one major storms so far this winter construction is moving full steam ahead.
“Every time I pass by the construction site I get excited,” said City Councilor Sal LaMattina. “I can’t wait to cut the ribbon on this new library because it is something the neighborhood has really wanted and needed for a long time.”
Centrally located in the neighborhood on the 18-acre Bremen Street, LaMattina said the location could not be more perfect.
“Soon residents will be able to sit outside on the library’s deck during the warm weather and enjoy the views of the park and Boston’s skyline while reading their favorite book.”
Construction on the state-of-the-art library should wrap up in the summer of 2013 with the branch opening in late summer or early fall of 2013.
The new branch will serve the entire community with more than double the combined public space of the two branches currently operating in East Boston. Both the Meridian Street and Orient Heights Branches will close once the new branch opens.
The project includes an open-plan community reading room with spectacular views of the park and the downtown Boston skyline. The brand-new facility boasts dedicated areas for adults, children, and teens, in addition to a quiet reading room, conference room, and community space for multipurpose programs. A reading porch runs the length of the building along the park, providing outdoor space for reading, congregating, and using the wireless Internet network, a feature of all Boston Public Library locations.
In March it was announced that some of the proceeds from the City’s sale of general obligation bonds would help fund the new library. Boston sold $232.1 million of general obligation bonds to secure an interest rate of 2.46 percent to fund $122 million in new capital projects that included the new Eastie library.
Last year Eastie was put on a waitlist for state funding to build the new, state-of-the-art library. However, Mayor Thomas Menino decided to go forward with the plan and said the city would foot the bill if state funding did not become a reality.
The city applied for a grant of $8 million to help defer the $11.3 million price tag on the new Eastie library from the Massachusetts Board Library Commissioners (MBLC).
In July 2011, the MBLC announced that the Eastie project was placed 15th on a wait list of 15 other cities and towns seeking money from the board.
Menino said he would remain committed to see that the project gets done with or without state funding.
“This project has always been a priority of mine in East Boston,” said the Mayor at the time. “I made a commitment to the people of East Boston and I plan to follow up on my commitment even if the state doesn’t come through.”
Menino said it is important for residents of Eastie to enjoy a state-of-the-art facility that will meet the needs and growing role that a neighborhood library will play in the future.
“I can’t say enough about the Mayor for having the vision and determination to make this new library a reality even when there was a question about funding.” said Debra Cave who served on the new library’s advisory committee.
The new library is being designed by William Rawn Associates. William Rawn Associates is the same team responsible for the new Mattapan branch finished last year. There, architects from William Rawn Associates created an up-to-date library facility, an open reading room, and an outdoor courtyard configuration. The sustainable building merges indoor and outdoor spaces and had redefined the experience of the library there.
Architects Mark Oldham and Carla Ceruzzi have designed a sleek non-linear building with a wave-like roof, open floor plans, huge windows that overlook the Bremen Street Park and outdoor classroom and reading spaces.
“The Boston Public Library is excited to see the construction on the new East Boston branch progressing,” said BPL President Amy Ryan. “We look forward to bringing early literacy programming, computer training, and a wide range of programs for all ages to the community in the fall.”