South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Margaret L. Smykla
Contributing Writer 

Carrick library will be all new from the bottom up

Existing buildings to be demolished with new construction in spring


Construction on a new Carrick Branch Library will begin in the spring of 2017 with the demolition of the current library building and the business next door. A new 8,000 sq. ft. building will rise in the space. Construction is expected to take about a year.

In January, residents crowded into a makeshift meeting space at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (CLP) – Carrick to learn the plans for renovating and enlarging the facility.

 The consensus among attendees was that even with the addition of a second floor, the library would quickly outgrow it.

 "We felt we had to build up to two floors, but the community said to try harder, and we're glad we did," said CLP director Mary Frances Cooper about the new and revised plans at the Sept. 29 meeting at Concord Elementary School.

 She said CLP has a sales agreement with neighboring Lauterbach Dental Lab to buy their property, thereby allowing for expansion. The lab was not willing to sell in January, she said, so an expansion was not in the prior plan.

 The new plan is to demolish the current library and the dental building, and construct a new two-story library in the enlarged space.

 Architect Laura Nettleton of Thoughtful Balance said that is more affordable than trying to join the two buildings.

 The current square footage of the library is 4,000. With the addition of a second floor as presented in January, the square footage was projected to rise to 6,600. With the expansion, the new square footage of the library would become 8,000.

 Ms. Nettleton said the expansion means the childrens, teen, and adult areas will all become larger.

 The plan also calls for new carpeting, shelving, fixtures, lighting, and more on the first and second floors, and adult and staff work space.

 The project cost will remain the same as in January at $2.3 million. No additional parking will be provided.

The timeframe is to begin in March-April, 2017, and last about a year, during which the library will be closed.

 "It's an incredible improvement over what we saw the first time around," an attendee said.

Ms. Nettleton discussed her architectural drawings, calling the floor plans "ideas," and which will remain on display in the library for the public's perusal.

 "It's just in pencil, so we can make changes.

 "This is how we think we can use the space best," she said.

 The first floor of 5,830-square-feet would house a children's area, teen area, children's outdoor reading plaza, periodicals lounge, store room, small meeting room, and outdoor plaza.

The second floor would house the adults stacks in 900-square-feet of space. There will also be an 800-square-feet main meeting room overlooking the street.

 It will be accessible from the first floor via steps or a circulation ramp that meets Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines. There will be no elevator as in the previous plan.

 High windows will illuminate the dark areas for natural light. An environmental goal is greenery around the building.

 To an attendee's question about providing space for storing books about Carrick history, the response was that it will be discussed later when shelving is planned.

 The structure would be built to the passive house standard, which results in a reduction in energy costs. That would make the library the first library built to passive house standard in North America.

In 2008, the board decided to merge the Carrick and Knoxville branches. However, when a suitable site could not be secured, the plan was abandoned.

In 2011, the decision was made to renovate the Knoxville library, which occurred last summer. The board then turned its sights on the Carrick library.

The Carrick library will remain open until the spring. It will continue to offer free homework help as well as programs for kids, teens, and adults.

For more information, call the library at 412-882-3897, stop in at 1811 Brownsville Road, or check it out online at


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