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The New Downtown Central Library Finally Breaks Ground

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The current San Diego Public Library

After spending 30 years in the planning stages, a new downtown central library is finally on its way to being built: officials broke ground on the $185 million, 9-story project’s future site this past Wednesday, ushering in progress and celebrating a decades longprocess that has finally come to fruition. The new 497,652 square foot building will be completed in approximately three years time, in July 2013, and will feature a coffee bar, auditorium, sculpture garden, underground parking, meeting spaces, and a charter high school that will house about 400 students.

San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders was full of pride, declaring, “I couldn’t be prouder of the countless people who have spent so much time and energy on making sure we arrived at this day. Our work will pay dividends for future generations of San Diegans.” In addition to the mayor, various other elected officials and San Diego business owners and donors were present at the ground breaking, held at the 11th Avenue and Park Boulevard construction site in downtown’s East Village. Among the donors was Irwin Jacobs, the co-founder and former CEO of Qualcomm, Inc.: “You begin to get a feeling that public projects move a little more slowly than private projects,” he joked in an interview with the Union-Tribune, “but it, indeed, has moved ahead.”

As of now, about $152 million of the project’s $185 million dollar cost has been raised, leaving about $33 million that the San Diego Public Library Foundation must raise for the building’s construction to continue without a hitch. Judith Harris, the immediate past chairwoman of the Foundation, told the Union-Tribune that workers have contacted organizations such as the San Diego Padres, the Union-Tribune, and other local businesses to raise the funds by January 2012.

Photo from Allan Ferguson via flickr

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