Opening of library delayed

April 05, 1994|By Adam Sachs | Adam Sachs,Sun Staff Writer

The East Columbia Library in Owen Brown village, which is intended to relieve crowding at the county's main library, won't open until August because of construction complications.

The 46,000-square-foot building on Cradlerock Way was to have opened in January.

The building's "unique" design, particularly its glass curtain walls, is the main reason for the delay, said Jim Wilson, chief of the county's construction inspection division. The curved walls are made of floor-to-ceiling panels of tinted glass, supported by a structural frame.

"I think it will be a beautiful building when it's done," Mr. Wilson said. "I think people in Columbia should be very proud of it."

The $8.2 million project should be finished by mid-June, said Mr. Wilson. County library administrators will need another two months to stock the building, which will be located next to Dasher Green Elementary and Owen Brown Middle schools. The building also will have a small senior center and a nutrition site.

County Library Director Marvin Thomas predicts the library system's circulation will "boom" after the new branch opens. About 2.6 million materials circulate annually from Howard's five libraries, including 1.5 million from the main library.

The main library in Columbia's Town Center has one of the higher circulation rates per capita of any central public library in the country, even though some Columbia residents have curtailed their visits due to frustration over the limited parking and the long check-out lines, Mr. Thomas said. The new library site will have more than 400 parking spaces.

Mr. Thomas said he expects county residents, particularly those in east Columbia, will use the new library "to its fullest extent."

"Everybody in Owen Brown is very anxious for it to open," said Owen Brown village manager Ruth Bohse.

As part of the 25-acre construction project, three new county Department of Recreation and Parks athletic fields have been prepared next to the library.

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