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William F. Laman Public Library System officially begins $ 2.8 million renovation of downtown post office

Jeff Baskin puts a hammer to the wall as the renovation of the Laman Library’s new addition at the former U.S. Post Office site in downtown North Little Rock has begun.Buy Photo
Jeff Baskin puts a hammer to the wall as the renovation of the Laman Library’s new addition at the former U.S. Post Office site in downtown North Little Rock has begun.
John Allison and John Crow strike a wall as the renovation of the Laman Library’s new addition at the former U.S. Post Office site in downtown North Little Rock has begun. Photos by Greg RayburnBuy Photo
John Allison and John Crow strike a wall as the renovation of the Laman Library’s new addition at the former U.S. Post Office site in downtown North Little Rock has begun. Photos by Greg Rayburn

The $2.8 million renovation of the Main Street Post Office building that will be used to house the new Argenta Branch location of the William F. Laman Public Library System kicked off with a special ceremony on March 5.

Dan Noble, the library’s public relations manager, said the renovation process at the former post office, located at 420 Main St., North Little Rock, was made possible after the former post office was bought for $775,000 in October 2012.

The March 5 program consisted of a short program led by Ron Oliver, Chairman of the Board of Trustees; Jeff Baskin, Executive Director of the William F. Laman Public Library System; and North Little Rock Mayor Joe Smith, North Little Rock Mayor.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, people in attendance were given golden hammers to knock down a wall.

Noble said once renovations are completed the total project will be an estimated $3.5 million investment into the Argenta District.

“When the building reopens in early 2014 it will replace the current Branch which is located at 506 Main St.,” Noble said.

The library’s Argenta branch opened at 506 Main St. in 2006. The current Argenta Branch location is 2,550 square feet.

Noble said the new location, once it is converted from being a post office, will have a basement with 5,500 square feet, a 35-seat meeting room and a 140-seat auditorium.

It will also have: a Arkansas History/Genealogy research room, first floor totaling 5,500 square feet, a reading room, exhibit/gallery space, café’ with a patio, a second floor with 4,300 square feet, a children’s department, and a computer lab with 25 stations, according to Noble.

“The new location will give us a total of 15,300 square feet which is six times as much space as we have right now,” Noble said.

The 82-year-old Post Office building was completed in 1931. The U.S. Postal Service closed the post office branch on June 15, 2012.

The building is on the National Register of Historic Places and is located in the Argenta Historic District

“Renovation should take nine months with the opening of the new branch in early 2014,” Noble said.

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