About the Archives West Wing

This Week | Groundbreaking Ceremony | Previous Weeks in Construction

In August 1999, the Alabama Building Renovation Finance Authority refinanced existing state bonds at lower interest rates, thereby providing funds for the Archives' new west wing. It anticipates $12 million for the project. Archives Director Ed Bridges thanked Governor Don Siegelman for his leadership in making these funds available.

The project was authorized by HB 317, signed into law by Governor Fob James on March 30, 1998. The bill, sponsored by Speaker of the House Jimmy Clark, had passed the Legislature with unanimous bipartisan support in both the House and Senate. Senator Wendell Mitchell handled the bill in the Senate.

Many factors had pushed the need for a new wing to the front of the Archives' priorities:

  • lack of space in the current building for collections storage, substantive interpretative exhibitions, efficient reference facilities, and public programs
  • inadequate heating, air conditioning, and ventilation systems that fail to provide the kind of stable environment required for long-term preservation of the Archives' irreplaceable collections
  • outdated electrical systems incapable of supporting computer and technology systems essential to providing on-site and distant access to collections.

The current building was constructed in 1938-1940 and an east wing was completed in the early 1970s.

Although planning for the west wing has just begun, preliminary indications are it will include a new up-to-date reference room, large state-of-the-art collections storage areas, an expanded auditorium, and additional spaces for public programs and interpretive activities.

As the west wing was planned, staff and architects also prepared for renovations to the main building and the Coley Wing in order to upgrade and make the best use of existing storage, exhibition, and public space. Architects for the west wing and renovation project are Seay, Seay, and Litchfield of Montgomery.

Updated: February 25, 2002
Alabama Department of Archives & History
624 Washington Avenue
Montgomery, Alabama 36130-0100
Phone: (334) 242-4435