The recession and uncooperative weather delayed construction plans for the Northeast Regional Library. But 12 years after Wake County voters approved a bond measure to fund the $12 million facility, work is underway.
The building is expected to open by March 2016 off Forest Pines Drive. The facility, which will be the seventh regional library in the county, will serve North Raleigh and Wake Forest.
Regional libraries can be about 22,000 or 30,000 square feet and are typically built as a square, said Ann Burlingame, deputy director for Wake County libraries. The Northeast Regional site will be among the smaller regional libraries and will be built in a V-shape.
The unique shape fits well on the property site and will mirror the stream that flows behind the building, Burlingame said.
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She said the building layout will improve programming logistics.
In most regional libraries, the adult and children’s sections overlap, which can make it tough to host multiple programs at the same time.
At the Northeast Regional Library, the building will have separate wings for adults and children’s books.
“The biggest issue for our libraries is that we don’t have quiet, traditional libraries,” Burlingame said. “Our libraries have a lot of energy.”
The new building will have small study rooms for residents who prefer to read or work in silence. They will be located away from the programming room, where most noise comes from, Burlingame said.
Northeast Regional will get a collection of 125,000 books and 40 public computers. It will feature the same events and meetings that other regional libraries offer. The library will host four adult programs a week and a weekly teen program.
“The programming is what’s really going to be exciting for that part of the county,” Burlingame said.
Currently, the only library in northeast Wake County is the Wake Forest Community Library. Its smaller size limits the programs it can offer and focuses on children’s programs, Burlingame said.
In recent years, programming has become a bigger focus for Wake County libraries. While it’s still important for residents to check out books and use the space to read quietly, providing services and activities for the public is just as crucial, Burlingame said.
The Northeast Regional Library is the last library to be funded through a $35 million bond approved by voters in 2003. The bond funded the construction of the West Regional Library in Cary, community libraries in the Leesville Road area and Holly Springs and a renovation at the North Regional Library.
Northeast Regional was slated for construction after the Leesville Community Library was built in 2009. But the ailing economy stalled those plans as the county cut back on spending, Burlingame said.
Little Diversified Architectural Consulting, an international architecture and design firm, handled design plans for the facility. The company also oversaw renovations for the Green Road and Wendell community libraries.
Workers broke ground at the Northeast Regional site in November.
Burlingame said winter weather pushed back the construction time line and made it tough to host an official groundbreaking.
“We’re just going to have an extra nice opening,” she said.