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Painting the town (enchilada) red: San Antonio Central Library gets a new layer of paint

The degree of sun bleaching to the enchilada red Central Library is easily seen in this photo
San Antonio Public Library
The degree of sun-bleaching to the enchilada red Central Library is easily seen in this photo. New paint layer appears to the right.

A $3 million renovation of the "enchilada red" Central Library downtown has started.

The funding for improvements to the first, third and sixth floors comes from voter approval of the City of San Antonio's 2017-2022 Bond Program.

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"Our services extend far beyond the walls of our libraries, but our facilities are the home base," said Ramiro S. Salazar, the city's library director. "For 25 years, Central Library has been the crown jewel of our Library system. These facility improvements will maintain Central Library's status as a dynamic destination for information, imagination and ideas for everyone."

Work has started inside the building to redesign the main entrance and main service desk on the first floor that will improve security and accessibility.

Improvements to the children's area on the third floor include a new story room, flexible space for programs and a new computer lab.

Improvements on the sixth floor involve better public access to the Texana/Genealogy Department's significant cultural, historical and informational items.

Worker painting at enchilada red Central Library downtown
San Antonio Public Library
Worker painting at enchilada red Central Library downtown

The Central Library's famous "enchilada red" exterior will receive a fresh coat of paint for the first time in 11 years. City officials said repainting the façade is a technical process that must be completed by a high level of precision to make sure the building is restored to its original red hue.

The renovations should all be completed sometime next year. The color was not loved by everyone at first, but the city council gave its full support in 1991. It's now a downtown landmark.

The library was the vision of Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta who died in 2011 at age 80. His building designs often featured colorful façades and cubist elements.

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