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Mayor, local officials mark progress on library construction in Uptown

Photo credit:
City of San Diego

Continuing his commitment to improving all neighborhoods, Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer was joined today by State Assemblymember Todd Gloria and City Councilmember Chris Ward to mark progress on construction for a state-of-the-art library in Uptown.  

“Libraries are so much more than books, they’re spaces where families gather, students learn and communities grow,” said Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer. “This new library will serve neighborhoods that have seen significant growth at a time when education and affordable access to the Internet are more important than ever before.”

The 14,000-square-foot library – which is more than triple the size of the existing facility – will serve Bankers Hill, Hillcrest, Middletown, Mission Hills and University Heights. It will be named the Mission Hills-Hillcrest/Harley & Bessie Knox Branch Library in honor of late San Diego leaders and philanthropists Harley and Bessie Knox.

“This project has been a long time coming and I am thrilled that the residents of Mission Hills, Hillcrest, and all of Uptown can now see dirt turned and more progress made on their new library,” said Assemblymember Todd Gloria. “Over the last 50 years, Mission Hills and Hillcrest have grown and evolved significantly. The Mission Hills-Hillcrest/Harley & Bessie Knox Branch Library is in step with that growth and evolution, and will give these communities a much-needed library facility that can function as a gathering place for the community, a convenient place for students to study, and continue to be used for generations to come.”

Located on the south side of W. Washington Street between Front and Albatross streets, the library will be the second built since Mayor Faulconer took office. It features modern amenities including children and teen areas, a community meeting space, study rooms and computer areas, drought-tolerant landscaping, an underground parking garage and a design expected to achieve LEED Gold certification.

"Libraries are the hub of our neighborhoods, and this is an exciting new community space that will bring people together and put new resources at their fingertips," said Councilmember Chris Ward. "I'm so thankful for the years of hard work that has made this vision a reality, and look forward to the new opportunities this provides everyone in our community to explore and succeed."

The library is made possible thanks to a public-private partnership between local philanthropists and the City of San Diego. Construction costs were funded through a $10 million grant from the Hervey Family Fund and the Harley and Bessie Knox Memorial Fund at The San Diego Foundation. The City of San Diego will contribute $10 million to the project. The overall cost is about $20 million.

The San Diego Library Foundation’s Campaign for Excellence is raising an additional $3 million for the library, which is slated for completion in 2019. The new library will replace the old branch library built in 1961 and is expected to serve more than 350,000 San Diegans per year.

“It’s an exciting time for the San Diego Public Library because with each new branch location opened, we experience higher attendance at our programs and see an increase in circulation numbers,” said Misty Jones, Director of the San Diego Public Library. “Because the Uptown community is vibrant and engaged, I believe that when the Mission Hills-Hillcrest/Harley & Bessie Knox Branch Library opens, it will be another great example of how the City’s libraries serve as a place for opportunity, discovery and inspiration.”