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.

News & Project Updates

Byers and Smiley Branch Libraries

Update: April 2021
Designer: Studiotrope Design Collective 
General Contractor: Interlock Construction

The renovations for these over a century-year-old Carnegie libraries are nearly 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. 

Through these discussions, we found that the Byers location was in need of a space for youth to have access to educational support and activities and thus Byers now has an amazing contemporary teen space. Another highlight of the renovation is the restoration of a stairwell dating back to 1918. The stairwell will surely be one of the many focal points inside this historic Carnegie library.

Smiley’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.

While there is still work to be done, we are inching closer to reopening these historic library buildings. We look forward to having our community explore the buildings and see the renovations and updates for themselves soon.

Central Library facade

Denver Central Library

Update: April 2021
Designer: Studiotrope Design Collective 
General Contractor: GH Phipps 

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. Construction will be ongoing through 2021 and 2022. The Central Library hopes to open the first floor to the public with limited in-person service in summer 2021. 

birds eye view of north west section of Central Library exterior

computer graphic rendering of reimagined Children's librarycomputer graphic rendering of new even space plan





In Progress:

  • Major construction underway


  • New, modernized elevators

  • Renovated public restrooms and an added all-gender restroom on the first floor. 

  • Reimagined and relocated Children’s Library 

  • Renovated public restrooms and an added all-gender restroom on the first floor. 

  • Grand hall renovation with relocated, centralized service points

  • Construction of additional meeting rooms on the second floor 

  • Large programming space on the first floor with views of Civic Center Park and a more accessible location 

  • Deferred building maintenance

Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library

Update: June 2021
Designer: Handprint Architecture

In the fall of 2020, several workshops and meetings with members of the design working group were held, where valuable ideas and feedback were collected. Since then, the architects conducted additional technical reviews of the building and began initial designs and plans for the various spaces within the library.

A public meeting was held in March 2021. The architects presented the new floor plan to interested public and the Design Working Group members and asked for their feedback on specific areas of the library.
Currently, the project is still on schedule. Architects will announce the new design in Summer 2021.

Elevate Denver Bond Renovations

Athmar Park Branch Library
Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library
Byers 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

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Elevate Denver Bond website
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