St. Paul's Highland Park, Sun Ray libraries in queue for redesign

  • Article by: ANTHONY LONETREE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 26, 2013 - 8:53 PM

The two St. Paul branches will have teen zones and larger kids’ areas, in addition to community rooms. The price tag: $13.5 million.

Two branch libraries at the east and west edges of St. Paul are in line next year for renovations intended to give each a more inviting look — and added space, to boot.

Library officials unveiled new designs this week for the Highland Park and Sun Ray branches, both of which are to be renovated in 2014 at a total cost of about $13.5 million.

Windows and expansive sidewalk entrances are a big part of their respective futures.

“There’s a pretty big focus on the entryways — making them more connected to the street and to the people outside,” Jill Boldenow, the library system’s community and digital ­services director, said Thursday.

The Sun Ray branch also will have a new public plaza and outdoor ­reading garden.

Inside, both buildings will have expanded children’s areas and dedicated “teen zones” that include a technology station and meeting space.

Community rooms also are among the buildings’ key features, officials say.

The Highland Park library was built in 1954 and redesigned in 1974. The building, at 1974 Ford Pkwy., shares its facility with the Hillcrest Recreation Center, and is to be rebuilt at a cost of $7.9 million.

The Sun Ray library was built in 1970 and saw minor renovations and additions in 1985 and 2000. The building, at 2105 Wilson Av., is near the Conway Recreation Center, and is to be renovated for $5.5 million.

The city has provided $7 million to the projects, with the remainder to come from private sources.

“The fundraising is continuing,” Boldenow said.

Construction will begin at both sites early next year and is scheduled to be completed by the summer or fall.

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