Work has started on a £4.6m council scheme to refurbish, restore and redecorate the 1905 Lichfield Street Central Library and convert the 1960s E M Flint Art Gallery building.
The Grade 2 listed Library building requires significant internal work to repair water damage and make it a facility fit for ICT, information and skills development. It will also offer facilities for lending and children’s books as well as reference material.
The 113 year old hand-made clay roof tiles will be replaced in-line with current conservation guidelines and advice. Additional work is being carried out to the gullies, gutters and main rainwater drain.
At the same time, the former E M Flint Gallery is being converted so that the council’s Local History Centre & Archive, currently in Essex Street, can be brought down into the town centre venue.
A new four-hour fire resistant Archive is being created to meet The National Archive requirements and to protect Walsall's heritage. The town centre site in Lichfield Street will also make it easier to get to the centre.
An information / ICT / training suite is to be provided on the first floor of the Gallery. This will be used to help Walsall’s residents apply for jobs as well as develop their training and skills for current and future employment.
Willmott Dixon Construction was awarded the £4.137m contract to undertake the conversion and restoration of the site on behalf of the council's Leisure Services. Work started on site on Wednesday 11 April 2018. Project Management and professional services are being supplied by Pick Everard.
The total project cost is £4.6m.
The outline programme for the Lichfield Street “Hub” is:-
15 April Hoarding erected
April / May Initial strip out
Early May Scaffolding & site cabins
May to Nov Internal works
Apr to Dec External works
Nov / Dec Test & commission