SOUTHEND’S new £26million library is on schedule to open in three months time.

The state-of-the-art building,a venture between Southend Council, South Essex College and Southend Council, is almost complete with contractors from Wates Construction now focusing on the interior.

Painting and carpeting is under way, lifts have been installed and specialist equipment such as the tiered lecture theatre seating is being fitted.

Ina bid to make the Forum environmentally friendly, solar panels have been installed on the roof.

One of the main focal points will be a huge screen outside the library, which will show major sporting and cultural events, as well as matters of local interest.

Kevin Lomax, project manager, said: “The paving along the new footpath to Elmer Avenue has been completed and we will now be working on the paving along Elmer Approach towards the High Street.

“Also carried out this month was the installation of the public screen facing the new square.

“The council has recently finalised the arrangements for the screen, which will showcase the best in local, national and international cultural events during limited hours.

“Audibility will be limited to within the square itself, and showcase cultural activities from all three partners in the Forum.”

Trees will be planted in a courtyard area and outdoor seating installed before the Forum officially opens its doors on Monday, September 30.

Students from South Essex College and the University of Essex will be able to make use of many of the facilities 24 hours a day, but residents can also read, study and take part in group activities during public opening hours.

The Forum will replace Central Library, in Victoria Avenue, Southend.

A joint statement released by the three organisations said: “The building is progressing towards completion and we are looking forward to opening the Forum, Southend, on Monday, September 30.”