- Associated Press - Monday, April 12, 2021

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The Tennessee State Library and Archives celebrated the opening of its new 165,000-square-foot building Monday in Nashville, with several Tennessee governors and other top figures in state government on hand for a ribbon cutting.

Among them were former U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, Gov. Bill Lee, former Gov. Bill Haslam, former Gov. Winfield Dunn, Senate Speaker Randy McNally, House Speaker Cameron Sexton, Secretary of State Tre Hargett and State Librarian and Archivist Chuck Sherrill.

Work began in 2005 on the $123.8 million project, and a groundbreaking took place in late 2017.

“We now have the necessary climate controls to preserve and care for our most precious documents,” Hargett said. “And today now we can welcome larger groups of Tennesseans who have greater access to their history as a result of our grand reading room and meeting rooms.”

The old 1950s-era archives building sits west of Tennessee’s Capitol. The new building is located just outside downtown on the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park.

One new high-tech amenity is a robotic automatic storage and retrieval system, which can retrieve materials in less than two minutes. State officials say the system helped reduce the building’s footprint by 100,000 square feet, saving $54 million.

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