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Lebanon's National Library to open in July 2014

Architect says that works are progressing despite years of delay

NEWS, Business

Lebanon's new National Library will open next year following several years of delays, officials have said.

A $25m grant to convert the former Lebanese University Law School near Sanayeh Park was awarded to the project by Qatar's Emir to gelp fund the scheme in 2009 and the project was supposed to complete in 2011.

However, during a tour of the building held last week by caretaker Culture Minister Gaby Layyoun and chairman of architecture firm Erga, Elie Gebrayel, the latter told Lebanon's Daily Star newspaper that the project will be complete by July 28, 2014.

He said that a huge hole which has been dug at the site was for four new underground levels - three of which will be used for book stacks and one for parking. He also said that works to restore the building had been delayed due to the fact that part of the building was still occupied by the country's Interior Ministry, which had to be worked around by construction teams.

Contractors also experienced structural weaknesses and complications within the historic building.

Meanwhile, Layyoun added: "The obstacle was, and remains, that the Interior Ministry insists on using parts of the building because the ministry is adjacent [to the stucture] and they don’t have enough room,” he said.

Layyoun has requested that the ministry uses a new building, but none has yet been found.



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