New library will open in 2020
Wicklow town's new library moved a step closer to reality with the signing of a contract for the construction work on transforming the old bank building.
The former Ulster Bank building on the town's Main Street has been sitting idle for a number of years and was purchased in 2017 by Wicklow County Council as the location for a new library and County Archives.
Contracts for the construction phase of the development were signed on Monday by Frank Curran, Chief Executive, Wicklow County Council,
O'Connell Mahon, Architects, has been appointed to lead up this project. A plan has been developed for the conversion of the six storey building to a public library along with Wicklow County Archives and Local Studies and was prepared by O'Connell Mahon Architects.
Construction will be carried out by Byrne and Byrne Ltd of Bunclody.
It is anticipated that the building element will take approximately 12 months to complete and the new library should be open to the public in late summer, or the early Autumn of 2020.
Speaking after signing the contract, Mr Curran said: 'The new library and archive will be a centre of excellence for the town and county. The County Archives and Local Studies will add to tourist numbers and compliment Wicklow Gaol.
'I want to acknowledge the generous financial assistance received from the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (URDF Funding) and the Department of Rural and Community Development (Library funding).'
Cllr Irene Winters, Cathaoirleach, Wicklow County Council, said: 'The people of Wicklow town have always been avid users of the local library. A new library and archive will ensure an annual footfall of 150,000, which will have a knock-on effect for other businesses in Wicklow town.
'It will house the archives for the whole county so things will be much more accessible for people to research. Hopefully the new library, once completed, will help revitalise that part of town.'
The plans for the building include the Salthouse Lane entrance becoming a local studies area, using the upper basement for archives, the ground floor on Main Street and first floor for books and items to loan, the second floor for a study area, computers, magazines and a common room.
The third floor will include an art gallery and exhibition area.