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New Central Library in Winston-Salem on track for mid-summer opening

New Central Library in Winston-Salem on track for mid-summer opening

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A quick drive down the 600 block of Fifth Street in downtown Winston-Salem will show that a lot can happen in a year.

The Central Library, which began construction last year, is nearing full enclosure, said Mark Gill, site superintendent for Frank L. Blum Construction Co.

“We’ve got most of the facades up and plumbing and electric is being roughed in,” Gill said. “We’ve got the permanent power turned on to run temporary heat during the winter. So we’re going as hard as we can to meet that mid-summer (2017) deadline.”

At the same time last year, workers had just completed stripping the old Central Library to the girders and concrete floors, readying the frame for renovation.

The Central Library closed to the public in October 2014, and crews began moving furniture and removing hazardous materials in preparation for demolition, while Ratio Architects and Steele Group Architects finalized the design.

From the entrance, the children’s section — with book stacks, computers and its own assembly room — will be to the left on the first floor. Computer labs and additional workrooms are near the back and a café is to the right.

The teen section is on the second floor and will have interactive technology like a green screen for filming videos and a gaming area. One of the centerpieces of the building, the North Carolina Room, also will be on the second floor. The popular local history and research room will now take up half of the second floor with art gallery space outside. The North Carolina Room will have special climate controls to protect sensitive documents.

The third floor will house the library’s general collection and its prime reading spaces. The Forsyth Reading Room will have fireplaces while a covered terrace will allow people to sit outside and enjoy views of Pilot Mountain and other areas to the north.

The third floor patio was named for the Winston-Salem Rotary Club after the club pledged $100,000 toward the library’s renovations.

County commissioners have approved Onepath Systems to outfit the new library with its audio and visual needs for $548,161.46.

Commissioners have voted on companies to furnish the new library as well. The county will buy shelving and end panels from Carolina Furnishing and Design for a total of $319,899.82; open line furniture from Furniture Solutions Plus for $559,573.27; and systems furniture from PMC Commercial Interiors for $70,480.78. All three companies are located in North Carolina.

Parking will still be available under the back of the building and along the streets.

(336) 727-7203 @JordanMHowseWSJ

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