By Nancy Price
A six-year plan for a $9.5 million, 25,000-square-foot library on a 6-acre site in West Perry Township has become another step closer to reality.
Representatives from the Southside community, Indy Library, HBM Architects/Interior Designers, Schmidt Associates and Powers & Sons Construction Company recently joined together to celebrate the start of the building’s construction and tour the facility at 6650 S. Harding St., which is expected to be open for patrons next summer.
“People are excited to have a branch in their area and cannot wait until the branch is completed and open in 2021,” said Peggy Wehr, future manager of West Perry Branch.
“The need for a library in this location has been longstanding,” added Deputy Mayor of Community Development, Jeff Bennett. “Not only was this a longstanding need; this is a thriving, growing, diverse part of town and this library will become a landmark that signifies that the Southside is here and is growing and is a desirable place to be.”
“When this place is done, you’ll be able to look around and walk around and see things like quiet reading rooms, study rooms, community meeting rooms, a fireplace area, a marketplace, a wall of glass that sees all that beautiful wooded area, a world-language materials area,” said Judge Jose D. Salinas, president of the Indianapolis Public Library Board. “Because the Southside of Indy, must like the rest of our county, is growing and changing, and a library at a minimum must recognize the demographics and meet the needs of the community it serves.”
Lisa Gomperts, project manager for Schmidt Associates, added that the community meeting room will hold about 100 people. In addition, there will be 30 computer stations, a family-friendly space with a children’s zone, including a small tunnel entry, and a colorful section for teenagers.
Large windows will allow natural daylight into the facility, which will be equipped with solar panels.
“The outdoor patio space will allow patrons to enjoy the library and the outdoors at the same time,” she added. “We wanted to create an open, inviting and healthy facility, both inside and out.”
The West Perry Branch and other planned IndyPL capital projects are funded from individual bonds approved by the Indianapolis City-County Council totaling over $58 million that are assessed with no increase in the library’s current debt service tax rate.
For more information, go to indypl.org/locations/west-perry.