Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library is rolling out renovations at its McCollough location, which temporarily will move operations to Washington Square Mall.
According to recommendations in EVPL’s 2023 Master Facilities Plan, the library system will renovate its eight locations through structural improvements and expanded or new services. While EVPL CEO Scott Kinney says it’s undetermined how long it will take to work through the plan’s recommendations, McCollough — named after Evansville’s first professional librarian, Ethel McCollough — is the first step, with renovations there starting Aug. 1.
Kinney’s hope for the master plan is two-fold.
“We need to renovate and update the physical structures, including HVAC and lighting, so the buildings last for the next 20 years. Also, we need to make spaces more welcoming and inclusive for visitors,” he says.
McCollough last underwent renovations in 1996 and 2006. Upcoming renovations to the 58-year-old building at 5115 Washington Ave. — with a cost of $4 million and an estimated completion date of mid-2024 — also involve new furniture, a modernized children’s area with activity and sensory rooms, and four new study rooms. McCollough’s meeting room will be moved and upgraded.
Depending on how extensive the renovations are at each of the eight locations, phased closings or temporary relocations will be necessary, Kinney says. Once construction starts on Aug. 1, soon after EVPL McCollough will move to a space inside the adjacent Washington Square Mall next to The Thrift Store by Evansville Rescue Mission.
“We felt it was best to give the contractors more access. Also, the timeline for the construction will be shorter,” Kinney says. “We’re excited to get the master facilities plan underway.”
EVPL’s board and the Evansville City Council last year approved a bond issuance to fund McCollough’s upcoming renovations. The board and city council also recently approved bond issuances to fund renovations at EVPL’s Central, Oaklyn, and North Park branches. Kinney says those projects are in the initial planning stage.