The Library Board is eyeing land across from Lee High School for its long-awaited South Branch.
Library Director Spencer Watts announced at Thursday’s Library Board meeting that the corner of Lee Drive and Bennett Drive is the most coveted on a list of possible South Branch spots. The South Branch Library was planned for the planned Rouzan development before that proposal stalled last year.
“It’s more centrally located,” Watts said about the Lee Drive location versus others on the list. “It would make a lot of people happy.”
The main concerns about that possible location are notoriously heavy traffic on Lee Drive and getting the neighbors on board. Library officials are starting to discuss the plan with nearby residents. Watts said builders would have to devise buffers to block out noise and other nuisances from the construction.
The library would be built on two lots comprising almost 3 acres. One house and pool would need to be demolished.
Architect Rex Cabaniss also unveiled further plans for the downtown River Center Branch Library, which will have four floors of contemporary design. The library’s entrance on North Boulevard will be surrounded by a covered plaza.
The second floor will house the children’s collection, and the third floor will be home to the adult and teen collections, as well as a technology lab and recording studios. The top floor will have mostly conference rooms and meeting rooms with a terrace similar to one on top of the Main Library on Goodwood Boulevard.
“Each floor of the building is very different, and that’s why it has a unique shape,” Cabaniss said.
The next step for the River Center Branch Library is moving closer to going out to bid, but necessary paperwork could delay that until the spring. The library is on budget and should cost $19 million. It will house between 72,000 and 74,000 collection items.
Library and BREC officials will host a ribbon-cutting Saturday for the plaza in front of the Main Library’s entrance and BREC’s Independence Cafe.