Renovation to give St. Andrews library digital, ‘techie’ feel
The St. Andrews branch of Richland Library is getting a much-needed makeover, more than 20 years after it opened on the Broad River Road corridor.
Library officials unveiled plans for the branch to the public Monday night, which will include bright colors and a modern facade.
Architects for the project have taken a decidedly art- and tech-inspired approach to the design.
“The idea is to create a young, fresh look — very techie, like Facebook or Google,” said Angie Brose, project architect with Charleston-based Liollio Architecture. “It’s going to be a total transformation.”
Plans call for the current 13,000-square-foot building to be reconfigured for patrons needing space to conduct research, job searches or other work. An additional 2,000 square feet will be added to provide a large meeting room, teen “maker space” and a dedicated children’s area.
Designated areas in the library’s floor plan will be divided by a bright color palette of blues, reds, oranges and greens, Brose said. Walls will be painted a primary hue that will lead the eye down to the carpet, where patches of color will be highlighted.
The ceiling will be covered with a wood board typically used for building construction to give the interior a bit of an industrial look.
“It’s a very artsy, creative community,” Brose said. “We thought the colors and more basic materials will inspire that creative spirit.”
Outside, the existing parking lot facing Broad River Road will be transformed into a public outdoor area with a garden featuring several raised beds. Library patrons will be able to park toward the rear of the building, where there will be a drive-up service window.
The exterior walls will be painted a slate gray to give the building a streamlined look and add some curb appeal, Brose said.
The new design is especially important to the library branch’s goal of serving customers who need access to the Internet and digital media.
“People will be able to come into the library with the programs we have now and what we will be doing and do better for themselves,” said Branch Manager Michelle DuPre. “Hopefully we’ll get a workforce going.”
The new library will have room for a small career center, similar to the one at the main branch on Assembly Street in downtown Columbia, and space for the branch’s teen advisory board to hold activities, DuPre said.
“We’ve been stuck in the 1990s for awhile,” she said. “This location is fantastic. It’s a very, very diverse community. It’s going to be a little bit of everything for everybody to be really excited about.”
The cost of constructing the St. Andrews branch is projected at $4.7 million, to be paid for with funds from a library bond referendum passed in 2013. The project will take about a year to complete once project bids are approved by the library’s board of trustees, according to library spokesperson Emily Stoll.
Library officials hope the renovation serves as a catalyst, transforming the Broad River Road corridor from an industrial area to one with more of a residential feel. The goal is to make the St. Andrews library branch a showpiece for people coming off Interstate 20, an encouragement to businesses to move to the area, and a reason for neighboring owners to beautify their properties.
“I’m looking at it as being a uniter, a place for all of us to come and enjoy, read, fellowship,” said Richland County Councilwoman Joyce Dickerson, who represents the Broad River Road area. “Any little thing we can do to improve this corridor, I’m all for it.”
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