By Samantha Angaiak
Channel 2 News
5:04 PM AKDT, March 15, 2013
Anchorage's main library is hoping for a facelift, with officials asking the state Legislature for $8 million to renovate the structure.
Administrators at the Z.J. Loussac Library say the building is 27 years old, but sees 74 percent more visitors than the Sullivan Arena each year. Since its construction in 1986, the library has only had one update to its roof.
According to Mary Jo Torgeson, director of the Anchorage Public Library system, nearly 500,000 people visit the Loussac Library each year.
Torgeson says one of the most highly anticipated changes is pushing the library's entryway outward from its current location, a move which would better accommodate the Anchorage Assembly chambers and the Wilda Marston Theatre, as well as improving air circulation on the first floor.
The library will also get a new drive-up book drop during the proposed renovations.
Administrators say the public has weighed in, with people saying they want the library to feel more welcoming.
Torgeson said the project is an opportunity to update the library's technology, as well as incorporate modern touches into the building's traditional elements like the library atrium.
"We're going to be adding a different front -- it will still be bright in area and it'll go up three floors," Torgeson said. "So it will remain very bright and airy."
If funding is approved by the state, construction could begin as early as 2014. The proposal will be reviewed by the Senate Finance Committee.
The master plan for the proposed renovations will be unveiled to the community at an open house on Monday at the Wilda Marston Theatre.
Contact Samantha Angaiak
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