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Council to consider approval of new downtown library

The City Council on Monday will consider whether to approve the construction of a $185 million new central library in downtown San Diego’s East Village.

If the council gives the project the green light, a dream of civic leaders for almost two decades, work will begin Aug. 1.

The design for the proposed project, at 330 Park Blvd., features a nine-story, dome-topped library with an auditorium, meeting spaces, sculpture garden, outdoor cafe and underground parking.

To date, $152.4 million of the $184.9 million cost of the library has been identified.

Of that amount, $30.8 million has been raised from private donations, $20 million will come from the state grant and the San Diego Unified School District has agreed to put in $20 million to lease two floors of the library for a charter high school.

Redevelopment funds will cover about $80 million of the cost and an additional $1.6 million will come from other sources.

An additional $10 million has been donated for the operation of the library once it opens.

That leaves $32.5 million that the San Diego Public Library Foundation must raise to complete the project.

The largest donation was made by Irwin Jacobs, the co-founder and former chief executive officer of Qualcomm Inc., and his wife, Joan, who contributed $20 million for the new central library project.

In total, more than five dozen people have contributed to the new library.