Type: Public

Cost: $13.5 million

Developer: St. Paul Public Library

Architect: LSE Architects

 

Details: The St. Paul Public Library system has released designs from LSE Architects of Minneapolis for a $13.5 million renovation of its aging Highland Park and Sun Ray branch locations.

The Highland Park branch on Ford Parkway, built in 1954 and redesigned in 1974, shares its space with the Hillcrest Recreation Center and is targeted for $7.9 million in improvements. They include a new meeting room, a “repurposing” of 5,000 square feet to create new areas for public use, energy-efficient lighting, increased natural daylighting and a dedicated teen zone with technology stations.

Meanwhile, the 43-year-old Sun Ray branch on St. Paul’s East Side will get $5.5 million in updates. They are to include a new public plaza, sidewalks, landscaping, a community room, 2,500 additional square feet of public space as well as more daylighting and an energy-efficient heating-air conditioning system.

St. Paul Public Library spokeswoman Jill Boldenow said the renovations will transform the libraries into “21st century learning centers” that will be more flexible, have more meeting, learning and programming space, and provide new designated areas for children and teens.

“Architecturally, it’s interesting because both of these projects are capturing thousands of square feet of new public space without actually doing any additions,” she said. “It’s really all about how LSE has reconfigured the interiors and entryways to do that.”

Construction is set to begin in early 2014, with an anticipated completion that summer or fall.

Don Jacobson is a freelance writer in St. Paul. He can be reached at hotproperty.startribune@gmail.com.