The East Baton Rouge Parish Library has applied for a building permit to replace its downtown River Center branch at 120 St. Louis St. The new 50,000-square-foot branch is budgeted at $19 million.

Mary Stein, assistant library director, said construction documents for the new branch are currently being reviewed by the library system and the city-parish Department of Public Works.

Those documents will be used to create a public bid package, which could go out as soon as August, Stein said. A general contractor will be selected and that firm will determine the timetable for construction of the River Center branch.

Rex Cabaniss, architect for WHLC Architecture, who designed the building in collaboration with Boston-based Schwartz/Silver Architects, has said construction of the library will take 20 months.

“The process will include move out, remediation, demolition and, finally, construction,” Stein said. The new library will include computer commons, technology labs and panoramic views on its upper terrace.

The new library has been in the works for several years. The Metro Council voted in 2010 to replace the existing River Center branch, after heated debate and opposition by many who thought the money should go toward bettering other libraries around the parish.