Photo gallery: Richland Library unveils plans for Ballentine branch
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Library patrons in the Ballentine community got a first look Tuesday at plans for a new branch on a seven-acre lot off Dutch Fork Road.
“This is what people in this community have been asking for for years, so it’s going to be really, really nice to be able to actually give it to them,” said Ballentine branch manager Kelly Jones.
The Ballentine branch was originally founded as a bookmobile to cover the northwestern parts of Richland County. A small building was acquired and opened in 2007.
The current site has limited parking and is set near a busy plaza. Roberta Phillips, planning and project manager for the site, said the new building would be set back into the wooded lot and blend in with the natural surroundings.
“The community members really wanted a library that was a refuge,” she said.
The 13,000-square-foot building will include a 60-seat meeting space, a larger children’s area, a family restroom and a nursing mother’s room. A maker space with a large craft table and chairs will allow local artists or knitting groups to work on projects.
The library will be built with hardwoods, blue and orange colors and felt flooring to create a comfortable atmosphere. Angie Brose, project architect with Charleston-based Liollio Architecture, said the space includes glass entryways that open out to a garden plaza and a patio deck for activities like live performances and movie nights.
The exterior will be covered in black brick, and the north side of the building toward the back of the property includes floor-to ceiling windows that look out to the trees, Brose said.
“We almost wanted to understate the building, that the building disappears in nature and is a background for nature,” she said.
The project will cost an estimated $5 million. Phillips said the new branch is expected to open at the end of 2016.
Jones said she is excited to be able to expand the types of activities the Ballentine branch can offer to residents, as well as be part of a growing part of the county.
“We’re in a really small space here, and we do as much as we possibly can in this space,” she said. “I’m looking forward to having the space to do all the things we want to do.”