The newly-remodeled Gainesville branch of the Hall County Library System will reopen to the public Monday, Sept. 21.
The building has remained closed for several months as it underwent an expansion and was revamped with a more modern look than its original 1970s design.
"This is like an entirely new library-just in the same location as the old one," Hall County Library System Director Lisa MacKinney said in a statement released Wednesday. “We have a new entry, a larger youth area, a story time room, study rooms, improved security in the history and genealogy area and a large meeting room. It is such a functional, updated space.”
Despite the major changes to the library’s design, library officials wanted to pay tribute to the original structure.
"This facility has been a place of refuge and learning for countless people for roughly half a century," MacKinney said. "So while we've updated it in almost every way, we've taken great care to maintain its sense of discovery and respite-and, of course, we've left the large, iconic spiraled staircase as a nod to the building's former life."
The renovations were managed by Scroggs and Grizzel and the Hall County Construction Division, while BCA Studios served as the architect. The $5.35 million project was funded by SPLOST dollars, impact fees and a grant from the State of Georgia.
During the renovation, the library was temporarily located next door in the former Turner, Wood & Smith insurance building. Plans are now underway for this building to be turned into a parking deck with a designated section for library parking.
"We are incredibly grateful to our legislative delegation for supporting our building grant, to the City of Gainesville for offering a temporary space for us to use during construction and to the Hall County Board of Commissioners for financially supporting this project," MacKinney said. "Because of their support and the support of this community, the downtown branch will be able to efficiently serve Hall County residents for years to come."
Upon reopening, social distancing guidelines will be enforced and guests will be encouraged to wear masks, since there are still health concerns in the community.
"We are looking forward to having the public come and see this new space and all of the wonderful resources it offers; however, we are mindful of the current COVID-19 pandemic, and want to ensure this reopening is done in a way that is safe for the public and for library employees," said Hall County Assistant Administrator Marty Nix.
A private rededication ceremony for elected officials and key stakeholders will be held on Thursday, Sept. 17 at 4 p.m. and will be streamed at www.hallcounty.org and www.hallcountylibrary.org for the public to view. In addition, a virtual tour of the library will be available on the Hall County website in the coming weeks.