Pratt Central Library Undergoing Major Renovation, Bringing In Old With The New

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — If you’ve driven by the Pratt Central Library on Cathedral Street you’ve probably noticed a lot of scaffolding outside. That’s because the building is undergoing a major renovation.

Ron Matz reports work crews are busy modernizing the library and at the same time discovering history.

“They’re re-creating the original artwork, the decoratively painted ceilings by just redrawing and re-painting over what they did 85 years ago, making it look like it did once before,” says project manager John Durcan.

The quiet of the Pratt Central Library has given way to the sound of construction. Now, the over 80-year-old building is getting a facelift.

“It’s a three and a half year renovation. We like to kind of describe it as bringing the building into the 21st century while preserving all the history inside the building,” says Communications Director Megan McCorkell.

“Right now we’ve got construction happening in every area of the building. Predominantly on the
Second floor and third floor. Everything from soup to nuts: Mechanical systems, electrical
Systems, every wall is open. Pretty much everything that can be done is being done,” says John Richardson, Chief of Facilities Management.

And the operation is a big one. There are 150 workers in every part of the building, decorative ceilings are being uncovered and re-painted.

“It’s a great project. It’s kind of a jewel of the Enoch Pratt library system. I’m excited to be a part of this,” says Durcan.

Another exciting part is the reimagining of a learning place for teens.

“We’ll have fifteen times the amount of space the teens have now for a place to learn. We’ve dedicated half of the second floor for a teen learning and leadership center. They’ll have books, librarians, a creation center with technology, a studio for recording. It’s a profound statement about the importance of teen learning in the city,” says Sandra Vicchio, Consulting Architect Pratt Library.

A half million people visit the Pratt Central Library every year, so it will stay open during this extensive renovation.

“The big thing is we’re keeping the central library open, and keeping all of the services that people rely on during this entire three and a half year project,” says McCorkell.

The Pratt central library opened in 1933. The renovation project is scheduled to be complete sometime in 2019.

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