F.C. Council Gives Final OK to Library Renovation, 5-2

A CAPACITY HOUSE at the Falls Church City Council chambers were these mostly as a show of support for a final vote to move ahead with the renovation and expansion of the Mary Riley Styles Public Library Monday night. (Photo: News-Press)

By a 5-2 vote Monday night, the Falls Church City Council gave its final approval to a $11 million expansion and renovation of the Mary Riley Styles Public Library, ending a more than three-year delay since City voters approved a bond referendum for the project by a 2-to-1 margin in 2016. City Council chambers were packed with library supporters and they were not disappointed with the final vote.     

Now, the library will be open just through this coming weekend before closing down for a two-year renovation effort. Within three weeks, a temporary home for the library will be opening the first week of March at the temporary classroom trailers at the Thomas Jefferson School. According to Lionel Millard, the City’s project manager for the effort, library staff had already begun boxing up books that will now be transported to the new temporary digs. While the current library location will close as of Feb. 17, the building construction will not begin for a few more weeks while the contractor that agreed to a “guaranteed maximum price” with the City earlier this month works out terms with its subcontractors so the work can begin by mid-March at the latest.     

The deal with the construction firm of Centennial for $7.866,308 was also OK’d by the Council tonight by the same 5-2 votes as earlier approved the project (Council members Letty Hardi and Ross Litkenhous voting “no.”)

The key vote was to dedicate $2.3 million of the surplus the City found itself with this winter to add to the $8.7 million that voters OKd in the 2016 referendum to pay for everything associated with the project, including the relocation during construction.     

It is expected, according to Millard, that come the early summer of 2022 the project will be completed and the site reopened to the public, expanded, ADA compliant, and aesthetically impressive.