Architects Finish Design Of Downtown BR Library

BATON ROUGE (AP) — Architects have finished designing downtown Baton Rouge's 50,000-square-foot River Center branch but construction documents still have to be finished before companies can bid on the project.

         The planned downtown translucent "Library of the Future" building will cost about $19 million. It will be located amid some of downtown Baton Rouge's most eye-catching architecture, such as the Old State Capitol and the 19th Judicial District Courthouse.

         Architect Rex Cabaniss told The Advocate’s Andrea Gallo the library will be the center showpiece of downtown.

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         WHLC Architecture designed the building in collaboration with Boston-based Schwartz/Silver Architects.

         The library will include computer commons, technology labs and panoramic views on its upper terrace.

         "It's not a square, cookie-cutter kind of building," Library Director Spencer Watts said.

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         Something not included in the tight budget is parking. Watts said the East Baton Rouge Parish Library system does not have the money to add parking but he hopes the urban space surrounding the library will encourage people to walk and ride bikes.

         Watts said the Library Board hopes more parking will be available nearby downtown.

         The East Baton Rouge Parish Library system has been doling out construction projects left and right. The new, $35 million, 126,000-square-foot Main Library opened in January.

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