MONROE, La. (KTVE/KARD) — The Ouachita Parish Police Jury is moving forward with the multimillion dollar renovations for the new public library branch.

The Ouachita Parish Police Jury is moving forward with an ambitious renovation for the new Ouachita Parish Public Public Library.

Ouachita Parish Police Jury for District C, Larry Bratton, says the goal is to make the new library facility the hub for education and technology in northeast louisiana.

“We were able to get with our architects, and we were able to give those guys the information, and the wanting that we want for this to be the technology hub for Northeast Louisiana.”

The nearly $8 million renovation will focus on new technology, education, and improving the library system. He says access to telehealth is one of the new additions.

“We are getting a telehealth booth, so these are things that we can integrate into this brand new location. You can reserve it to use the booth, and have access to broadband services, and they can come through with their telehealth providers.”

The expansion of the new library will also offer new meeting rooms for up to 350 people. Learning programs and individual digital spaces for kids, young adults and seniors are some of the main features.

“Each department of the library, such as the young adults and the children area, have their own restrooms and their own computer set up. We will have a podcast studio as well as a maker space room that kinda works as a science lab,” project architect for Land 3 Architect, Bill Land said.

Land says a drone service will be another unique feature.

“So, the drone will take off out of that space, fly outside, and deliver the books when requested.”

The library board has decided to minimize the upstairs use by the public for safety reasons. Library officials say they hope these innovative library programs would invite more residents to visit the library.

“It is going to be better and more improved. It’s going to be one of the very state-of-the-art facilities in Northeast Louisiana,” explained Land.

“We are very excited to bring so much technology, and so many new things that people will be able to do for all ages,” library board of control, Alex Weber said.

Bratton says the plans have exceeded the expectations. He says the new facility has saved them thousands of dollars. He says this is an opportunity to renovate other branch facilities.

“We will be saving hundreds of thousands of dollars. We can move forward with the Carver-McDonald Branch Library.”

The current library will remain open until this new facility is up and running. Library officials say the project will go out for bids within the next few months, and it’s expected to be completed within a year.