[image-1]A project involving the construction of five new libraries and 13 renovations of Charleston County Public Libraries is starting to take significant steps towards becoming a reality. In 2014, Charleston County residents approved a referendum for the construction of new library branches in West Ashley, St. Paul’s/Hollywood, James Island, and Mt. Pleasant, along with the construction of a completely new library at the existing Cooper River Site. The 2014 referendum approved the building of the libraries and extensions with a cost of $108 million. According to CCPL’s website, plans with architects and subsequent deals with builders were supposed to commence in the spring of 2015, but delays related to location scouting pushed the start date back.

While the library construction is expected to start soon, there are still site problems (the possibility of flooding, space allocation for parking, etc.) that need to be addressed and remedied before construction can actually begin. In addition, structures that were supposed to be completely new libraries will take longer to build because some of them will be sharing the spaces with other parts of the community. The North Charleston building, for instance, will share the property with a new social services building, while the West Ashley library will be built as an extension of West Ashley High School.

The latest reports say that the various branches are starting to make progress, with finalization of site studies and design plans projected to be up for discussion as early as February. The Mt. Pleasant building construction is projected to start as early as May, James Island’s is expected to begin in June, and the brand new West Ashley library plans to break ground in October.

There will be a public meeting tonight, Jan. 30, to update community members on designs of the new Mt. Pleasant library and to participate in a Q & A session.

To learn more about the specifics of the project, visit ccpl.org/construction.