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Huntington building new $60-million education and visitors center

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A new building complex will rise on the grounds of the Huntington Library in San Marino. The $60-million construction project, which recently kicked off following a ground-breaking, will create a new education and visitors center that is expected to be completed in 2015.

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens said the new complex will feature 43,000 square feet of educational facilities and visitor amenities. There will also be 6.5 acres of new garden grounds. 

The project will include a 400-seat lecture hall and four classrooms as well as meeting rooms and an expanded café and gift shop. It will also include the addition of more than 40,000 square feet of underground storage space for the organization's historical research and other materials.

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The new construction will replace certain existing facilities built in 1980 that no longer accommodate the needs of visitors, scholars, or staff, according to the Huntington.

Money for the $60-million project is coming through private sources, with fundraising underway, according to the Huntington.

Steven S. Koblik, president of the Huntington, said in a statement that "it’s important to have a way to properly welcome and host" visitors to the grounds.

The Huntington Architectural Resources Group, a Pasadena company, has been hired to design the new facilities. The Huntington said that the designs are intended to fit in with the existing architecture on the grounds.  The San Francisco-based landscape architect Cheryl Barton is overseeing the new gardens.

The Huntington said its usual schedule of exhibitions, lectures and other events will continue during construction of the Education and Visitor Center.  

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