When a fire gutted the 1922 structure in 1986, the Library’s collection of 3 million books was threatened, but an army of citizens helped save the collection and the City chose to rebuild. The old structure was completely restored – a significant historical restoration and renovation challenge!
This unique 600,000 square foot, $138,000,000 project had very complicated and intricate finish work and included historical renovation of the existing 1922 library edifice, historical preservation and refurbishing of numerous artifacts and murals, structural steel, reinforced concrete and new construction of an eight story annex with over 146 subcontractors. In addition the South Terrace and the West Lawn was recreated to the historic splendor of 1922. This high-profile project required over 1,200 shop drawings and over 4,000 RFIs (Requests for Information) and 1,900 change orders (totaling $28,000,000) all of which were successfully negotiated with the City of Los Angeles without litigation. When the project opened on schedule, October 3, 1993, the Mayor of Los Angeles closed down Fifth Street for a gala star-studded five-hour celebration and grand opening.