Construction crews were out working this week to prepare East Boston new library on Bremen Street for its grand opening that is set for this Saturday.
On Saturday at 11 a.m. Mayor Thomas Menino will join residents and elected officials to cut the ribbon on Eastie’s centrally located branch on the Bremen Street Park.
Construction of the new 14,600 square foot, $17.25 million facility began in the spring 2012 and is located at the corner of Bremen and Prescott Streets facing the park.
Already, Eastie’s two other branches on Meridian Street and Barnes Avenue have closed and books, CDs, and DVDs have been moved from the former branches and blended in with thousands of new items purchased specifically for the new Bremen Street location.
The new branch will serve the entire community with more than double the combined public space of the two branches currently operating in East Boston. Both the Meridian Street and Orient Heights Branches will close once the new branch opens.
The project includes an open-plan community reading room with spectacular views of the park and the downtown Boston skyline. The brand-new facility boasts dedicated areas for adults, children, and teens, in addition to a quiet reading room, conference room, and community space for multipurpose programs. A reading porch runs the length of the building along the park, providing outdoor space for reading, congregating, and using the wireless Internet network, a feature of all Boston Public Library locations.
In March it was announced that some of the proceeds from the City’s sale of general obligation bonds would help fund the new library. Boston sold $232.1 million of general obligation bonds to secure an interest rate of 2.46 percent to fund $122 million in new capital projects that included the new Eastie library.
Last year Eastie was put on a waitlist for state funding to build the new, state-of-the-art library. However, Mayor Thomas Menino decided to go forward with the plan and said the city would foot the bill if state funding did not become a reality. The city applied for a grant of $8 million to help defer the $11.3 million price tag on the new Eastie library from the Massachusetts Board Library Commissioners (MBLC). In July 2011, the MBLC announced that the Eastie project was placed 15th on a wait list of 15 other cities and towns seeking money from the board. Menino said he would remain committed to see that the project gets done with or without state funding.
The new library was designed by William Rawn Associates. William Rawn Associates is the same team responsible for the new Mattapan branch finished last year. There, architects from William Rawn Associates created an up-to-date library facility, an open reading room, and an outdoor courtyard configuration. The sustainable building merges indoor and outdoor spaces and had redefined the experience of the library there. Architects Mark Oldham and Carla Ceruzzi have designed a sleek non-linear building with a wave-like roof, open floor plans, huge windows that overlook the Bremen Street Park and outdoor classroom and reading spaces.