New li­brary will open in 2020

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - NEWS - By MYLES BUCHANAN

WICK­LOW town’s new li­brary moved a step closer to real­ity with the sign­ing of a con­tract for the con­struc­tion work on trans­form­ing the old bank build­ing.

The for­mer Ul­ster Bank build­ing on the town’s Main Street has been sit­ting idle for a num­ber of years and was pur­chased in 2017 by Wick­low County Council as the lo­ca­tion for a new li­brary and County Ar­chives.

Con­tracts for the con­struc­tion phase of the devel­op­ment were signed on Mon­day by Frank Cur­ran, Chief Ex­ec­u­tive, Wick­low County Council,

O’Con­nell Ma­hon, Ar­chi­tects, has been ap­pointed to lead up this project. A plan has been de­vel­oped for the con­ver­sion of the six storey build­ing to a pub­lic li­brary along with Wick­low County Ar­chives and Lo­cal Stud­ies and was pre­pared by O’Con­nell Ma­hon Ar­chi­tects.

Con­struc­tion will be car­ried out by Byrne and Byrne Ltd of Bun­clody.

It is an­tic­i­pated that the build­ing el­e­ment will take ap­prox­i­mately 12 months to com­plete and the new li­brary should be open to the pub­lic in late sum­mer, or the early Au­tumn of 2020.

Speak­ing af­ter sign­ing the con­tract, Mr Cur­ran said: ‘The new li­brary and ar­chive will be a cen­tre of ex­cel­lence for the town and county. The County Ar­chives and Lo­cal Stud­ies will add to tourist num­bers and com­pli­ment Wick­low Gaol.

‘I want to ac­knowl­edge the gen­er­ous fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance re­ceived from the Depart­ment of Hous­ing, Plan­ning and Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment (URDF Fund­ing) and the Depart­ment of Ru­ral and Com­mu­nity Devel­op­ment (Li­brary fund­ing).’

Cllr Irene Win­ters, Cathaoir­leach, Wick­low County Council, said: ‘The peo­ple of Wick­low town have al­ways been avid users of the lo­cal li­brary. A new li­brary and ar­chive will en­sure an an­nual foot­fall of 150,000, which will have a knock-on effect for other businesses in Wick­low town.

‘It will house the ar­chives for the whole county so things will be much more ac­ces­si­ble for peo­ple to re­search. Hope­fully the new li­brary, once com­pleted, will help re­vi­talise that part of town.’

The plans for the build­ing in­clude the Salt­house Lane en­trance be­com­ing a lo­cal stud­ies area, us­ing the up­per base­ment for ar­chives, the ground floor on Main Street and first floor for books and items to loan, the sec­ond floor for a study area, com­put­ers, mag­a­zines and a com­mon room.

The third floor will in­clude an art gallery and ex­hi­bi­tion area.

Mem­bers of Wick­low County Council and Cathaoir­leach Cllr Irene Win­ters (cen­tre in pink) at the sign­ing of the con­tract for the new li­brary in Wick­low town.

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