Update on the South End Branch Closure

To be added to the South End Update mailing list, please email Priscilla Foley, Director of Neighborhood Services, at pfoley@bpl.org.

In late April 2022, there was a flood at the South End Branch. This destroyed all the mechanical equipment in the basement.

Recently, there was another flood at the South End Branch. Our facilities team was on the ground to investigate the source of the flood, which has now been identified and managed with the partnership of our colleagues at the Boston Water and Sewer Commission. Currently, we are undertaking the process of cleaning up, evaluating any damage, and working to mitigate further damage to the building.

To be clear, this issue will not impact the process of planning and undertaking the anticipated capital project to reimagine the branch, which is being led by our colleagues at the City of Boston’s Public Facilities Department (PFD). In general, a Programming Study takes approximately 12 months to complete, PFD plans to reduce the time expediting the process.

The capital building process will take place in three phases: a programming study; design; and construction.

  • Programming Study – This study is undertaken by an architectural firm to determine all the different areas and rooms needed in the library, and what size they should be. The study also determines the size of the collections and their shelving types. The output will be conceptual floor plans to show how all the spaces can fit together on the site with thoughtful adjacencies of spaces.
  • Design – The architects take the information from the programming study and start to design a building with the assistance of engineers. The design process has three phases: conceptual design, schematic design, and design development. In each of these phases, the design becomes more refined and detailed, and process culminates in the creation of the construction documents for the project.
  • Construction – Once the construction documents are completed, they are put out to bid to engage a construction company. Once a construction company is chosen, we will break ground and build a new building.

Currently, our colleagues at the City’s Public Facilities Department are in the process finalizing hiring an architect for the first phase of this project.

Of course, we will be seeking community input during both the programming study and design phase. Please be on the lookout for a series of community meetings that we will host to hear more about what the community would like to see in a reimaged South End Branch of the Boston Public Library.

Thursday morning, you will find our fantastic BPL staff in Library Park hosting a Family Story Hour.

For more information, please visit: https://www.bpl.org/locations/south-end/