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City, Library Foundation Break Ground on Lecture Hall

Officials from the City of Newport Beach and the Newport Beach Public Library Foundation hosted a groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday, February 27 to kick off construction of a new lecture hall adjacent to the Central Library at 1000 Avocado Ave. 

The $23.4 million lecture hall, to be known as Witte Hall, is being financed through a cost-sharing agreement between the City and Foundation.

The 9,814-square-foot building, designed to complement the existing Central Library and City Hall architecture, will include tiered, stadium seating for 299 people. The new auditorium will host a variety of authors, speakers, lecturers and other events.

Newport Beach Mayor Will O’Neill noted that the project took shape from a “push and pull of ideas" and "the hall itself will host views expressing nuance and wisdom.”

Jill Johnson-Tucker, chair of the lecture hall design committee and chair of the “Beyond Books” fundraising campaign for the lecture hall, said the new facility will “reflect the pride that this community holds for the library and Civic Center complex…fulfilling the Library’s mission as the cultural, educational and informational heart of our city.”

In early January the City approved a $19-million contract with AMG & Associates Inc., of Santa Clarita, to build the facility.

Construction of the lecture hall is expected to take about 21 months and be completed by early 2026. The building will be named Witte Hall in recognition of a donation from Bill Witte and Keiko Sakamoto.

The City is advising Central Library patrons that parking will be significantly reduced for the duration of construction. If parking is not available, patrons are encouraged to utilize the Civic Center parking structure at 100 Civic Center Dr., with convenient access to the library’s north-facing entrance near City Hall.


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