By Georgine Wallace

Construction workers assemble the bones of the new Southwest
library; Courtesy of DCPL

At the start of the construction in March, the new Southwest Library was described in a Tweet as designed by Ikea because the first wooden beams resembled a chair more than a building. However, a few short weeks later, the building is starting to take shape. In the included picture you can see the Northern side with the wood accents starting to form. The architect’s rendering is also included so you can see how the angled wood supports fit into the design. 

The roofing and staircase will be built over the next few weeks. In May, the exterior walls will be erected and some of the glass installed. Installation of the brick masonry work around the windows on the western and southern facades will begin in June. 

Most of the work over the next several months will not create any additional noise or disturbance. Local residents will be able to hear the crane as it operates and the sound of trucks delivering materials. If truck traffic increases at any point, the community will be notified and advised of what to expect. At one point the block of K Street next to the Library will need to be closed for utility work. That closure, however, will not be for several weeks and the community/local officials will be notified in advance as to the date and estimated duration of the work. 

The COVID-19 pandemic impacted the availability of supplies at one point but thankfully other US suppliers were identified and the supply chain firmed up. The Library is aware this can change again with minimal warning and they are monitoring the situation.

A rendering of the future library; Courtesy of DCPL

Construction of the new Southwest Library continues as it is viewed as an essential service, but the Library recognizes that the status can change and the construction halted at any moment. The construction crew has established safety protocols and will react accordingly if any employee tests positive for the COVID-19 virus. The Regulatory body, DCRA, is around the corner from the site and visits regularly. 

Now that construction has started, we will update you on the project on a more regular basis and include photos.

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