Providence Public Library Breaks Ground on $25 Million Renovation Project

October 5, 2018


PROVIDENCE, RI – Building America CDE Advisory Board Member Thomas J. O’Malley, Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza, Rhode Island General Treasurer Seth Magaziner, and members of the Providence Public Library Board of Trustees were in attendance for the groundbreaking of the $25 million Providence Public Library (PPL) renovation project. As part of the transformative $25 million building construction project, PPL received $15.5 million in New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC) allocation from Building America ($8 million) and Consortium America, LLC ($7.5 million).

“This funding is a critical component of our overall $25 million project goal,” said Jack Martin, PPL Executive Director. “So much of our transformation has to do with creating modern learning spaces within our building. With optimal and flexible facilities, we will be able to expand our wide range of community learning opportunities, particularly the kinds of 21st century workforce development and technology training initiatives that are so necessary now for Rhode Island youth and adults.”

Eschewing the traditions of the usual groundbreaking event (where guests shovel dirt to kick off the ceremony), the invited officials took turns breaking up a drywall pillar inside the library and coined the new term “wallbreaking” while celebrating the historic renovation. PPL is Rhode Island’s largest-ever library renovation and will create an estimated 144 new union construction jobs and retain over 80 permanent jobs.

"Public libraries, when done right, are one of those things that can help hold our society together... so that people can come to a place and have shared experiences and shared knowledge," General Treasurer Seth Magaziner said.

The renovation project will enable PPL and its program partners to offer larger and more frequent classes by more than doubling its classroom space, providing expanded and dedicated spaces for children and teens, and creating a new 3,000 square foot café retail space that will generate operating revenue.

"We need to counteract those forces that pull us apart with the forces and institutions that bring us together, and that's what this library is doing," Mayor Elorza said.

To learn more about the Providence Public Library renovation please visit PPL’s website.