Fort Ben library slated to open in 2023


Construction of a second Indianapolis Public Library branch in Lawrence is about to move forward.

The IPL’s original branch at 7898 Hague Rd. is one of the library system’s busiest, according to IPL CEO John Helling, justifying the need for a second branch in Lawrence.

Helling said the second branch will in “no way replace” the first branch but will provide additional service to an “underserved population.”

The second branch is planned to be built on land between Otis Avenue, Melner Road and 56th Street. It will be the 25th IPL branch. At 24,000 square feet, the new branch will be the largest IPL branch except for Central Library.

The IPL has worked with the Fort Harrison Reuse Authority on the exterior design of the library.

“We’ve been working with the Fort Harrison Reuse Authority very closely throughout the design process. We very much want it to fit in with the aesthetic of the area,” Helling said.

The $13.6 million library is expected to be complete by the third quarter of 2023. Construction is set to begin in spring 2022.

Fort Harrison Reuse Authority Executive Director Aletha Dunston said the FHRA is contributing the land for the library, and in exchange, the library is adding access points and internal driveways to increase access to future retail and office parcels.

We are contributing the land necessary for the new public library branch to ensure that this important civic anchor will be available to residents and visitors well into the future,” Dunston stated in an email to Current.

The Fort Ben branch will include a collection of 60,000 books, movies and other materials. It will feature a gallery wall displaying the history of the Fort Benjamin Harrison military base and have a large community room open to the public that can accommodate 70 people. It also will have group study rooms, a computer lab and a dedicated space for children and a rooftop solar photovoltaic system.

Ratio Design is the architect. The Skillman Corp./Davis Associates Team is the construction manager.

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