More than 200 people gathered today to celebrate the ribbon-cutting and grand opening of Pensacola’s new main library, located at 239 North Spring Street.
The library has reopened after a two-year renovation and expansion which nearly doubled the library’s size to 51,000 square feet. The two-phase project included the construction of a new wing on Spring Street, after which the original 1957 building was gutted and renovated. The new library includes an expanded children’s area, meeting rooms, coffee shop, bookstore, and more. The library also includes more than 50 new computers, including a 10-station computer training lab.
“This library is a tremendous resource and asset for our community,” said Mayor Hayward. “Whether you’re coming to learn, to take online classes, or just to read a good book over a cup of coffee, this library will have something for everyone. This library is truly a beacon of possibility and a testament to our faith in tomorrow.”
The $7.7 million project was funded by $6 million in Local Option Sales Tax, a $606,500 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, surplus dollars from the construction of the Tryon Branch Library, and a $100,000 donation by the Friends of the Pensacola Public Library.
The ceremony also featured the dedication of a firefighter memorial and a new wing named for Maurice Bartholomew, a Pensacola firefighter who lost his life in the line of duty in 2000. Bartholomew, an avid reader, was based at the old Fire Station 1, which was previously located on the site of the new wing.
The new library becomes the City of Pensacola’s first LEED-certified building, incorporating a number of energy-efficient strategies, such as a tankless gas water heater and low-flow plumbing fixtures. The improvements are expected to cut the main library’s energy costs by as much as 15 percent.
City Council members P.C. Wu, Gerald Wingate, Brian Spencer, Jewel Cannada-Wynn, Megan Pratt, and Charles Bare were also in attendance, as were members of the Escambia County Commission, West Florida Public Library Board, and other dignitaries.
On Saturday, January 12, the library will host a Family Fun Day, featuring crafts, dance, music and more.