Background on the Mt. Pleasant Library Renovation

The Mt. Pleasant Neighborhood Library is undergoing a substantial renovation. This historic Italian Renaissance-style building stands in the Mt. Pleasant National Register Historic District, which was designated in 1987. The renovation will retain many of the historic architectural features of the building’s interior.

The first phase of the renovation has been completed. It involved exterior improvements to windows, doors, security lighting, masonry restoration and signage. New furniture closely replicating what was original to the building has been installed.

The library is now undertaking a major interior renovation, and has hired the architecture firm of CORE Group, in partnership with HMA2 Architects, to complete the design work.

Prior to embarking on this project, the library developed a new comprehensive Library Building Program that will best meet the needs of the Mt. Pleasant community now and in the future. This program outlines the various elements, including collection size and range, seating capacity, technology and other aspects of providing library services to a community. This program serves as the guide for the architects in designing the renovation. With an eye toward delivering that program, the library instructed the architects to address several goals in the Mt. Pleasant Neighborhood Library renovation, including:

  • Update the infrastructure and code compliance
  • Improve vertical circulation
  • Improve efficiency and flexibility of space
  • Improve the lower level
  • Enhance the children's room and services
  • Address specific community needs
  • Create a common, accessible entrance for all residents

Initially, the architects studied the building and identified a number of physical challenges, including:

  • Current entry stairs
  • Site restrictions
  • Location of an elevator and internal stairs
  • Compatibility of exterior changes
  • Relocation of mechanical equipment
  • Confines of structure and ceiling height

The architects then studied the capacity of the current building footprint to accommodate the new library program. Because the library program calls for approximately 20,000 gross square feet, the architects began looking at ways to add to the building’s footprint. The architects designed a multistory addition to the right side of the building (on Lamont Street) and an expansion in the rear of the building.

A major goal of the renovation is to create a common, accessible entrance for all.  The architects examined several ways to achieve this goal, and have settled on retaining the current center entry stairs, and adding a switchback ramp on the right side of the stairs. This approach respects the historic integrity of the building while allowing easy access for wheelchairs and strollers.