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$4M facelift restoration

A project has been launched to restore the Carnegie Building on Coleridge Street, best known as the home of the National Library Service which was vacated eight years ago due to deteriorating conditions.

The building, built in 1906 with a $23,330 grant by Andrew Carnegie, has declined to such an extent that $4 million is now required for a makeover.

Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Stephen Lashley yesterday launched the Carnegie Library Restoration and Fundraising Project for the restoration of the English Renaissance style structure, which is expected to be transformed into a modern state-of-the-art learning and information centre.

“The Carnegie Building served as the headquarters of the National Library Service and was home to some very important collections. It was clear that any restoration programme would have to pay attention to the modernization of the National Library Service, which in turn would inform the internal layout of the restored space,” said Lashley in his feature address at the project launch at the Main Guard, Garrison, St Michael.

The Minister said that following an evaluation led by renowned architect Michael Lashley, it was determined that the restoration would be done in phases, with the rehabilitation of the edifice, the construction of internal stairs and the installation of elevators and full air conditioning forming part of the first phase. The creation of a courtyard for use by patrons and a car park have also been proposed as part of this phase.

The proposed second phase involves incorporating the adjacent old supreme court building in order to create additional space for housing the library’s satellite dishes.

Lashley said the fundraising would be facilitated by the Preservation (Barbados) Foundation Trust, an arm of the Task Force on the Restoration of Barbados’ Built Heritage, in collaboration with his ministry.

The first component of the fundraising action plan is the creation of an Independence Anniversary Calendar which will go on sale at the airport, and which will target members of the diaspora leaving the island after Crop Over. The second component will be a raffle, with the prize being a Range Rover donated by Simpson Motors.

The Minister said the Carnegie Building would be the first of a number of historical buildings in Bridgetown to be restored and repurposed, demonstrating that culture had a role in the national economy. (AH)

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