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$8.8 million project begun on Sweet Briar library

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Work is under way on an $8.8 million renovation project for Sweet Briar College’s Mary Helen Cochran Library.

The work is the first of three phases that will include removal and replacement of the Dana Wing, a 1964 addition to the north side of the historic 1929 building. The new wing will be on the building’s west side.

The project — paid for by donations already in hand — will include upgrades such as air conditioning, improved ventilation and better lighting for the original structure.

Some elements of the building also will be restored, including round-top windows along the original rear wall.

The new atrium design will open the view now blocked by the Dana Wing, and reveal the brick exterior wall that was covered up by the 1960s addition.

The south-facing gallery adjacent to the Powell Reading Room also will be restored and will again display art.

The college is working with VMDO Architects and builder C.L. Lewis to see if the project will qualify for state and federal tax credits for historic preservation.

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