‘Ready to be put back together’

Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK -- The main branch of the Lafayette Public Library downtown is undergoing major renovations.
Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK -- The main branch of the Lafayette Public Library downtown is undergoing major renovations.

Main library set to start renovations

Renovations to the main branch of the Lafayette Public Library downtown could begin this spring, said parish libraries director Sona Dombourian.

The library has been gutted and asbestos removed and the $10 million renovation project will soon go out to bid, Dombourian said.

“It’s ready to be put back together,” she said.

While the exterior of the building will remain mostly unchanged, the interior will be modernized with special spaces for children and with private study rooms.

“We’re going to have a real storytime room for the children, and a crafts room even,” Dombourian said. “We’ll have an area for genealogy and local history — not just a section, but a separate area in the library.”

In 2002, voters approved a 2-mill property tax for a $40 million bond issue to fund the renovations as well as the construction of four new libraries. Voters renewed the library tax in October.

So far, two of the four libraries have been built — one in Carencro and the other in south Lafayette past the Mall of Acadiana. Plans for two more libraries — the east regional branch serving the Broussard/Youngsville area and the west regional branch in Scott — are still under way.

Construction on the nearly $4 million east regional branch on La Neuville Road is expected to go out to bid after the bid process for the downtown project, Dombourian said. The east regional site is adjacent to Fabacher Field.

Within the next few months, the library board will seek proposals for property for the west regional branch in Scott, Dombourian said. The board selected a target area for the branch location within a 1.5-mile radius of Cameron Street at its intersection with Jenkins Road. She said the hope is to secure property within the next six to eight months. Work is now under way to start the architect selection process for the Scott branch project, she said.