After more than a decade of planning, the state of Tennessee has started construction on a new Library & Archives building, as officials formally broke ground Monday at the corner of Sixth Avenue North and Jefferson Street.
The 165,000-square-foot facility will house government records, photographs, books and other documents. The building has been budgeted at $123.8 million and will feature a climate-controlled chamber and robotic retrieval system. But Secretary of State Tre Hargett says it's also been designed to invite in the general public.
"The most important thing we can do is preserve these documents well, but also have a place where genealogists, schoolchildren, historians can come and be able to use this facility," he says.
The new Tennessee State Library & Archives is expected to take two years to complete. It will stand on the northeast corner of Bicentennial Mall, two blocks from the Tennessee State Museum, which is also under construction.
The original plan for Bicentennial Mall calls for it to be lined with public buildings, similar to the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
When finished, the building will replace the library's current home next to the state Capitol, which opened in 1952.