Construction on schedule for new North Huntsville Library and Berachah Park
Published on February 3, 2020
The site is shaping up on Sparkman Drive for the new North Huntsville Library and Berachah Park. Contractors are on schedule for a fall completion of the joint $10.8 million project – a partnership between the City of Huntsville and the Huntsville/Madison County Public Library.
“The City is proud to make this investment in North Huntsville,” said Mayor Tommy Battle. “Residents need and deserve high quality places to learn, collaborate, connect and play. This project accomplishes these goals with a beautiful new library and park that will serve the community for decades to come.”
The complex is being built at the site of the outdated Bessie K Russell Library branch, which occupies just 1,700 square feet, at 3011 Sparkman Drive. The new 19,000-square-foot facility is designed to meet the information-seeking needs of residents with state-of-the-art technology, a café, children’s reading areas, interactive literacy center and a makerspace for entrepreneurs.
“Libraries connect people to resources that build community,” said Kim Lewis, North Huntsville Library Capital Campaign Chairperson. “The new library will serve as a community hub, with two meeting rooms, multiple study areas and after-school program space for children. It will also feature some of the latest technologies such as a workforce development lab, a Makerspace with 3D printers, and an automated sorting machine.”
“We are so excited to show the North Huntsville community what their library can do,” said Laurel Best, Executive Director of the Huntsville Madison County Public Library. “We will be able to expand the great service of Bessie K. Russell and offer more people an opportunity to use our computer and Internet services, participate in children’s programming and learn STEM-related activities and equipment in the Makerspace.”
For City Council President and District 1 representative Devyn Keith, the new library and park is personal. “As a kid, I remember coming into the Bessie Russell trailer to do my Accelerated Reader points,” said Keith. “It amazing to have to have a chance to be part of this expansion and investment by the City and generous donors so that children will have a place that inspires and opens doors of opportunity.”
Best of all, the library will be located next to a new City park which will feature walking trails, pickleball courts, multi-purpose fields, pavilion and children’s play areas.
“Parks & Recreation looks forward to joining the North Huntsville Library as part of the improved Berachah complex,” said Steve Ivey, Huntsville Director of Parks & Recreation. “Berachah Park will be a wonderful addition to the indoor gym and community space presently run by our department. With the growth across our City, this investment will enable us to expand our reach at Berachah to include outdoor activities such as walking, football and family gatherings.”
The project architect is Fuqua & Partners and the General Contractor is Lee Builders, Inc. They expect to complete work on the site in October.
North Huntsville Library Fast Facts
- The library is being built on the old Berachah Center campus, 3011 Sparkman Drive NW.
- The new library will be approximately 19,000 square feet and located on the first floor. The upstairs will be renovated into office space for future growth.
- The library cost is $9 million. The Library Foundation provided $1.4 million in funding. Redstone Federal Credit Union, the First Missionary Baptist Church, the Ashburn Foundation and Alabama A&M Foundation have been major donors. The City of Huntsville is paying for the remainder of the library cost at $7.6 million. The surrounding park project cost is $1.8 million, funded by the City.
- Amenities include an open/bookstore-style floor plan, expanded meeting spaces that will hold up to 160 people, private study rooms with the latest technology available in each space, computer/workforce development lab, makerspace, separate children’s storytime room, interactive early literacy center, separate teen space, café, outdoor seating, state-of-the-art technology
- The current library opened in 1975 in a double-wide trailer, where it has served North Huntsville for the last 40 years. The facility does not meet the needs of the community, and with the number of patrons served in North Huntsville, the library outgrew the current building long ago.