The School Education Department is in the process of preparing a detailed report on the 16-acre DPI campus in Nungambakkam.

One building has been identified as a possible heritage structure and if it is found to be one, it would be preserved, sources said. As per the proposal, all the buildings currently on the premises would have to be razed. The proposed Integrated Knowledge Park would house the different directorates, in addition to a host of other facilities.

One of the main strengths of the library in Kottupuram was that it offered a host of facilities under one roof.

Rich collection

In addition to a rich collection, modern facilities and spacious reading areas that maximised natural light, the building has an air-conditioned auditorium, an amphitheatre designed for small performances, a food court and an exclusive Braille section.

It was designed as a comprehensive centre of knowledge and learning.

School Education Minister C.Ve. Shanmugham, says: “But, the space is grossly underutilised. They (DMK) claim that the structure is 3,48,480 square feet, but the ground floor spans only about 41,700 square feet. The building is vertical and over 3, 00, 000 square feet in the 8-acre ground is open space. And that is definitely a lot for just parking.”

Meanwhile, some wonder if the Kottupuram building would be suitable for a hospital. According to an architect who was involved in designing the structure, every aspect of the building was specifically planned to suit the requirements of a library. “From the area required for particular a number of books and book racks, to the number of sections, we took into account every small detail so that the building is appropriate structurally and design-wise,” he said.

Facility made inclusive

The then School Education Minister Thangam Thennarasu, who headed the project, had insisted that designers get into details to make the facility inclusive.

“The book racks in the children's section were specially made in wood, so that there are no sharp edges in an area where children will browse the racks,” said an official.