A rendering of the atrium proposed for the main library.
The St. Louis Public Library announced yesterday
that Emerson has donated $4 million for the construction of an atrium for the library's downtown headquarters.
The donation from the St. Louis based electronics firm is the lead gift of a $20 million philanthropic effort to support the $74 million total
restoration and revitalization of the main library, located on Olive and 13th streets.
The goal of the project is to convert the central library -- originally
built in 1912 -- into a "vibrant downtown library center" by doubling
the amount of space for public use, creating new children's and
teen sections, adding a 250-seat lower-level auditorium and offering
other amenities such as a café. (Think Barnes & Nobles on steroids.)
Construction is expected to begin later this year,
with the grand re-opening slated for 2012, coinciding with Central's
Commenting on the gift, Mayor Slay said:
"I applaud Emerson's
phenomenal leadership towards this important downtown project. Emerson's
$4 million gift demonstrates the company's strong commitment to the
citizens of St. Louis and to the vitality of the entire region. Because
Central Library is located within the heart of downtown, it serves as an
important anchor for further commercial and residential development
between Washington Avenue and Market Street. Along with our new City
Garden, Central Library will provide a new downtown destination and
venue. We've talked about this for years. Now Emerson has helped to make