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Ellie Kemper

Comedian and actor Ellie Kemper speaks to a sold-out crowd at the St. Louis County Library Headquarters branch to promote her new book, "My Squirrel Days," on Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018, in St. Louis. Kemper, a native of St. Louis and graduate of John Burroughs School, starred in "The Office" and was nominated for an Emmy in the Netflix original series "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt." Her appearance was moderated by John Burroughs' Head of School Andy Abbott (left). Photo by Chris Lee

St. Louis County Library will move most of its headquarters to land it has purchased at Clayton and Spoede roads, the library announced Tuesday.

About 6 acres will hold a new history and genealogy center and an administration building. The library paid about $1 million per acre.

Space for genealogy materials will almost triple, according to an announcement from the library.

Construction will begin late next year and will be financed as part of the library’s $120 million master plan to replace or renovate almost every library in the 20-library system.

BatesForum Architects will design the buildings. The library’s multiyear projects were financed with a tax rate increase approved by voters in 2012.

Meanwhile, specific plans for the current headquarters at 1640 South Lindbergh Boulevard have yet to be released. The library said a “new branch library and event center would be constructed at the current Headquarters location” by 2022.

Currently, the headquarters has room for about 900 people to attend major author events, with rows of folding chairs set up through the main part of the building and a temporary stage. With administration offices and the genealogy materials gone, the new branch would probably have plenty of room for event and meeting space.

The new genealogy center will have about 15,000 square feet; it now has 5,500. The collection includes more than 100,000 print items.

Five years ago, the library had to abandon plans to build the genealogy center on land in Chesterfield donated by Sachs Properties. The library had hoped to break ground in 2012, but fundraising did not progress as expected. Ownership of the land reverted to Sachs in spring 2013.

The new administration building will be 80,000 square feet. Its space will be used by about 180 staff members who do materials processing, programming development, information technology, marketing and administration.

Budget figures for the two new buildings are expected next month, according to Jennifer McBride, the library system’s communications manager.

So far, the library system has renovated or replaced 15 branches and is working on three others. Mid-County, Thornhill and Meramec Valley branches will reopen next year.