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Carrboro 203 Project construction progresses with expected completion in June 2024

hogan-02282023-city-203-project-update

The 203 Project located at 203 South Greensboro St. in Carrboro continues to undergo construction on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2023. Completion of the project is anticipated for Spring 2024.

The Carrboro 203 Project is set to be completed and open in June 2024, according to Susan Romaine, Carrboro mayor pro tem.

The project is on schedule if weather permits construction to continue. 

“It’s unusual for a construction project to be right on schedule, so we couldn’t be more excited that things are moving along well,” she said. 

The latest construction development is the completion of concrete columns and foundation walls for the space, as well as a concrete structure for an elevator shaft. Preparations are being made by the project contractor to pour the first-floor concrete slab, according to the project's webpage. 

The Town provides monthly updates of the project on its website and a mailing list with information on construction additions to the facility, Catherine Lazorko, Carrboro communication and engagement director, said.

The project was originally drafted in 2016 in response to a request for a library in the southern end of Orange County, and the Town held a groundbreaking ceremony in May 2022.

Romaine said the “seed” of the library was planted three decades ago by Nerys Levy, an activist and resident of Carrboro for 30 years. Romaine said Nevy believed in the importance of libraries being accessible to everyone no matter race, creed or orientation. Levy also regarded libraries as the “base for democracy” in the U.S.

“They could open up opportunities for literacy to anybody who walked in the door,” Romaine said.

The project is located at 203 South Greensboro St., which is reflected in its name and will be a 49,550-square-foot facility in downtown Carrboro. The land was donated by the Town and was originally a parking lot. 

The 203 Project will be the largest public facility in Carrboro community history.

The total cost for the project is over $41 million, with $18 million contributed from Carrboro and $22 million from Orange County. The project is a joint partnership between Carrboro and Orange County, Romaine said.

The location will feature more than just a library; it will house a Carrboro Recreation, Parks and Cultural Resources center, the WCOM Radio station and a teen center for recreational use.

“WCOM is already operating out of Carrboro," Ben Schmadeke, Carrboro capital projects manager, said. "They’re a really small frequency radio station, so this will be their new home.” 

The Orange County Skills Development Center will also be based out of the 203 building and provide job training, he added.

The library is anticipated to bring in “hundreds of thousands of people” over the course of each year, Romaine said.

Schmadeke said an economic study estimated that this traffic will have a positive effect on surrounding businesses.

However, while the finished product is expected to be prosperous, the construction of the site has caused significant disruption to traffic on Greensboro Street. 

“There are times when it might take 10 minutes to get up the hill on South Greensboro Street, so it’s an inconvenience,” Jim Wald, an owner of Glasshalfull, said.

Glasshalfull is located in the shopping center across from the 203 Project.

He said traffic is often blocked by dump trucks or concrete trucks and construction has taken away around 100 parking spaces for surrounding businesses. 

Duke Energy will be performing utility work between March 16 and 17, which will cause traffic on Roberson Street to be detoured to the Main Street intersection instead of South Greensboro Street, Lazorko said in an email. 

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Other obstacles in construction have been inclement weather, which took away 12 work days in January, and unprecedented labor and supply shortages. 

“I think ultimately it’s going to be good for the area, but it’s painful while it’s happening,” Wald said.

@carolinehorne22

@DTHCityState | city@dailytarheel.com 

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