Southeast Library design update

Planning for the Southeast Library renovation is nearing completion, with the library currently scheduled to close in late 2018 and reopen the following winter.

At the open house on July 25, project architects MacDonald & Mack, along with Quinn Evans, shared the latest designs for the new building, based on community input and library and county staff feedback.

Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin welcomed community members in attendance and emphasized their contributions to the renovation design, as well as Hennepin County’s commitment to completing Minneapolis Public Library renovations originally planned prior to the merger.

The current building was designed in the early 1960s by Ralph Rapson, Minneapolis architect and head of architecture at the University of Minnesota, and converted into Southeast Library in 1967. The renovation architects have proposed a design that stays true to the building’s Rapson look and feel, while opening up the building and increasing natural light with skylights and open views from the main floor to the lower level.

Recapturing the lower-level space is a key focus of the renovation. The lower level will have bookshelves along the perimeter to provide a larger, flexible open space that can adapt over time to emerging patron needs. Exterior enhancements include outdoor seating and a canopy to protect against weather, adding additional flexible and inviting space for patrons.

View the proposed design renderings for Southeast Library (PDF)

The project will also address identified infrastructure and building system improvements, including:

  • Replacement of HVAC and electrical systems; technology system upgrades
  • Building shell and site improvements to address leakage and drainage issues
  • Safety and security upgrades, including a new fire alarm system

Community discussion at the open house included appreciation for Rapson’s architecture and the project’s commitment to preservation, as well as Southeast Library’s unique position in the community, bringing University students of all ages and neighborhood residents together.

More about this building project