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Mammoth new library planned for Historic Westside

A “state of the art” library reminiscent of those at universities is coming to the Historic Westside.

The Las Vegas City Council on Wednesday approved a development plan for the project spearheaded by the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District.

The proposed two-story, 40,430-square-foot facility planned for Martin Luther King Boulevard and Vegas Drive could open early in 2025, said John Vino, general services director with the library district.

It would replace the smaller, aging West Las Vegas Library.

“It’s going to be a game changer for west Las Vegas,” said Melvin Green, of the KME Architects firm.

With the unanimous vote, the City Council approved the project and also slightly relaxed a 15-foot buffer zone requirement. The facility will have a 13-foot perimeter dotted with landscape.

Information on the cost and funding of the project was not immediately available. A library district spokesperson said Thursday that more details would be available in the near future.

The “21st century” design will feature “a lot of technology,” said Green, whose firm helped expand the Las Vegas Convention Center and remodeled the Flamingo Convention Center. KME Architects also designed the Eclipse Theaters in downtown Las Vegas.

Green outlined other features: walkability, an event center, a secured courtyard and a larger outdoor area that can host farmers markets and events such as car shows.

The project will allow for workforce development, said Kelvin Watson, executive director of the library district. “I believe and know that this building, this new library, is going to be great.”

As the library district officials and Green prepared to discuss the new library, Councilman Cedric Crear suggested they allow the vote to occur first, suggesting approval was imminent.

Crear, who is running for mayor and represents the Ward 5 area that encompasses the Historic Westside, has championed development in the predominantly Black neighborhood.

The library district shared a video prototype of what the facility, which will sit on 5.25 acres of land, could look like.

The video showed a large LED screen that will face Martin Luther King Boulevard, a high ceiling, trees and ample seating.

A city staff report noted that the first floor will hold a mammoth lobby with learning centers and gallery space. The second floor will include a computer lab and study rooms.

“This proposal is a prime opportunity to affirm the partnership between the City of Las Vegas and the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District to provide good access to educational and cultural resources for all the City’s residents,” the staff report said.

Contact Ricardo Torres-Cortez at rtorres@reviewjournal.com. Follow @rickytwrites on Twitter.

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