Top state lawmakers were on hand to break ground on the new building for the Tennessee State Library and Archives.
Among those in attendance were Governor Bill Haslam, Lieutenant Governor Randy McNally, Secretary of State Tre Hargett, and Speaker Beth Harwell.
The secretary of state said it's great for our state's history to come together under one roof.
The new building has been planned as a 165,000 square foot facility, which will also include a climate-controlled chamber for safely storing historic books and manuscripts.
A state-of-the-art robotic retrieval system will also be used in the building, along with classrooms.
“Tennessee has a strong and rich history, and it is important to preserve our past to pass on to future generations,” Gov. Haslam said. “We have significantly outgrown the space that currently houses Tennessee’s most significant and historic documents and vital records, so I thank the General Assembly for working with us to make this much-needed new Library and Archives facility a reality.”
Ground was broke at the site on Bicentennial Mall at the intersection of 6th Avenue North and Jefferson Street.
The project has been set to cost $123.8 million and began in 2005. It received substantial funding this year after being included in the governor’s budget.
“The new building ensures Tennessee’s history will be preserved for generations while making it more accessible. This world-class facility will blend the necessity of historic preservation with the ever-increasing demand for digital access. I applaud Governor Haslam and the entire General Assembly for making this a reality so we can better serve Tennesseans,” Secretary Hargett said.
The library will be built near the new Tennessee State Museum, which has been under construction.