New Central Library set to open with completion of $245M project
Calgary’s New Central Library in the East Village is almost ready to open its doors.
Mayor Naheed Nenshi, members of council and the Calgary Municipal Land Corp. celebrated the end of construction on the $245-million project on Friday, officially handing the building over to Calgary Public Library.
“It’s a great day for Calgary, it’s a proud day for every one of us, and I couldn’t be happier to be marking the end of construction on this site at the New Central Library,” Nenshi said to a crowd of around 100 people gathered underneath the library’s sweeping archway entrance.
The library isn’t scheduled to open until Nov. 1, but Postmedia was given a sneak peek of the 240,000-square-foot project in February.
Featuring more than 30 community meeting spaces, outdoor plazas and greenery and a large children’s play area, Nenshi said the new library will become a centre of learning self-improvement for Calgarians.
“It’ll instantly become the critical, vibrant, valuable, accessible, cultural hub for our city, and how could we not be excited about that?” the mayor said.
The building ’s architects — international firm Snøhetta and Calgary ’s DIALOG — earned a spot on Architectural Digest’s 12 most anticipated buildings of the year with the East Village project.
Rob Adamson, one of the new library’s architects with DIALOG, said the design team worked to create a building that would serve Calgarians “for generations to come.”
“This is a significant piece of civic architecture that, hopefully, Calgarians identify with … it’ll one day become a symbol of our great city,” Adamson said.
The new library at 3rd Street and 7th Avenue S.E. will replace the outdated concrete main branch along Macleod Trail and was built on top of the CTrain’s Red Line — a first for Calgary downtown development and engineering.
On top of all the library’s more standard features, the new facility will have a dedicated space for teens with music and gaming stations, and a more formal Great Reading Room on the top floor.
Planning for the New Central Library began in 2004 when council committed $40 million to the project.
Council committed an additional $135 million to the library from Calgary’s Community Investment Fund in 2011, followed by a CMLC contribution of $70 million for a total project cost of $245 million, the city said in a release.
The library’s cafe space, which will have direct access from the street, will be operated by two people well-known in the local food scene: Gareth Lukes, owner of Luke’s Drug Mart in Bridgeland, and Eric Hendry, chef behind Bar Von Der Fels.
Mayor Naheed Nenshi and other dignitaries attended a ceremony at the New Central Library in the city’s downtown on Friday.