Work has officially started for the renovations of the Mission Branch Library at 300 Bartlett Street in the Mission District of San Francisco. Crews will start modernizing the over-century-old public space with improved accessibility and increased floor area. Completion is expected by January 2025.
The building is one of seven libraries built with contributions from the 19th Century steel industrialist-turned-philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. Construction will involve returning the main entrance to the original grand doorway overlooking 24th Street. The ground floor will include an events space, a toddler’s room, and a teen section. The top floor will open up into a large reading room with private rooms along the east side of the room.
The project was designed by G. Albert Lansburgh in an Italian Renaissance Revival style. The renovations will go a long way in restoring the original design, including replacing the lost historic main staircase, restoring the original entry location plus windows for the main reading room, and removing non-historic construction added in the 1990s. S.J. Amoroso Construction Co will be responsible for the work.
With the planned renovations, Mission Library will be among the first municipal buildings to remove natural gas. The interiors will be heated with an electric heat pump, in part powered by rooftop solar panels and through new battery storage. Jessica Wolfman for the San Francisco Examiner has reported how the Mission Branch renovations will be a model for the city, just as Mayor London Breed is requesting the Board of Supervisors update the city’s green building standards to, among other points, replace broken gas-powered appliances with electric options.
Wolfman quoted Cyndy Comerford, program manager at the Department of Environment, as stating, “it’s really important for the government to be a leader in changing the way that we design and construct buildings, making them healthier and more sustainable.” Municipal buildings comprise 8% of city emissions, while all buildings produce around 44% of San Francisco emissions.
The property is located at the corner of 24th Street, Orange Alley, and Bartlett Street, close to the 24th Street BART Station. The building is on the same block as the eye-catching Reality SF church. Buena Vista Horace Mann K-8 school is just across the street. Construction is expected to last around two years at a cost of around $23 million.
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I like that the Mission Library is getting improvements. It always seems like the most well used biblioteca of the ones I visit. The community room especially looks like a winner.
So much facepalm to spend this much money undoing the renovations of just a couple decades ago. But those renovations sucked hard, and I’m glad things are being set right