Elevate Denver Bond Program

In November 2017, Denver voters overwhelmingly approved measure 2E, which provides $69.3 million to renovate the Denver Central Library and 10 branch libraries as part of the Elevate Denver Bond program.

Here you’ll find basic information on the library’s 11 bond-related projects as well as updates on construction and temporary closures. You can also visit the City’s Elevate Denver website for additional information about all Denver projects. 

The first debt issuance for Elevate Denver bonds allows the library to begin four of 11 scheduled projects. Each project has a design team, which includes representatives from the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure selected architects and library staff.

Project Overview

Denver Central Library

Central Library in Downtown Denver

The largest of the library projects, construction started at Central in 2020. During the pandemic, Central Library took this opportunity to move into the beginning phase of construction to take advantage of the library being closed to the public during this time. Construction is underway for the floors undergoing renovation - floors one through four which both have sections of the original Central Library built in 1955, and the expansion which took place in 1995 will be getting renovated. The Central Library opened the first floor to the public with limited in-person service starting in summer 2021 and opened the reimagined Children's Library in 2022. Construction will continue into 2024. More information.

Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library

​​Exterior photo of the library. ​​​​Renovation is now complete and the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library is now open. The library celebrated its 20th anniversary year and a grand reopening on Monday, Aug. 7. 

 

 

 

Athmar Park Branch Library

Exterior photo of Athmar BranchAthmar Park Branch Library renovation construction is in progress. Renovations will include building additions such as new study rooms and meeting spaces, increasing their square footage. The branch will also receive cosmetic refreshes such as new interior furniture, carpeting, and paint. There will also be improvements to the buildings’ infrastructure including the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system, Information Technology systems, and more.  
 

 

Pauline-Robinson Branch Library

Exterior shot of Pauline Robinson Branch LibraryPauline-Robinson Branch Library renovation construction is in progress. Renovations will include building additions such as new study rooms and meeting spaces, increasing their square footage. The branch will also receive cosmetic refreshes such as new interior furniture, carpeting, and paint. There will also be improvements to the buildings’ infrastructure including the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system, Information Technology systems, and more.  

 

Ross-Barnum Branch Library

Exterior shot of Ross-Barnum branchThis project has wrapped up the design phase for renovation. Closure for renovation will be the next phase. The branch will receive a renovation along with a significant renovation to the basement as well. More information will be shared closer to closure.

 

 

 

Schlessman Family Branch Library

Exterior shot of Schlessman Family branchAfter seeking community input for the upcoming renovations, Schlessman Family Branch is in the design phase process.The branch is receiving a full renovation and addition. Closure for the renovation phase will be the next steps after the redesign process. More information will be shared closer to closure.

 

 

Carnegie Libraries

The renovations for these over century-year-old Carnegie libraries are complete. Because both of these buildings have similar architectural opportunities and challenges, we tackled their updates together. The library hosted community meetings in the summer of 2019 to gather input from customers and neighbors. Connecting with Denver residents and library users is essential in planning all of our renovations.

John “Thunderbird Man” Emhoolah Jr. Branch Library  

Exterior of John Emhoolah Jr. Branch LibraryJohn “Thunderbird Man” Emhoolah Jr. Branch Library renovation created a much needed community space for meeting, learning and making. The branch now has an amazing contemporary teen space as there was a need for experiential space to keep youth engaged and learning while not in school or work. Adaptations were created to make the branch accessible to all residents. Lastly, aspects of the branch was repaired and restored to maintain and protect this treasured 100-year Carnegie library most notable, being the stairwell entrance dating back to 1918. 

 

Smiley Branch Library

Smiley Branch Library exteriorSmiley’s renovations include upgraded spaces such as an updated community room and a new study room in the basement. Reflecting its Northwest Denver neighborhood’s aesthetic, Smiley features a number of great architectural details, such as exposed brick in the front entrance and study room as well as refinished original built-in wood shelving. The Smiley branch also has a new, more easily accessible exterior book drop.

 

 

Elevate Denver Bond Renovations

Athmar Park Branch Library
Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library
John “Thunderbird Man” Emhoolah Jr. Branch Library
Denver Central Library
Eugene Field Branch Library
Pauline Robinson Branch Library
Ross-Barnum Branch Library
Ross-Broadway Branch Library
Ross-University Hills Branch Library
Smiley Branch Library
Schlessman Family Branch Library

Resources:
Activate! Denver Facilities Master Plan
Contracting opportunities
Elevate Denver Bond website
Media contact