Tenders close today for the renovation project at Sylvan Lake Municipal Library and council will be asked to award a contract during budget deliberations in January.
During Monday’s meeting, Ron Lebsack, director of community services, updated councillors on the project which includes conversion of the former Archives space for library use, changes to create better traffic flow near the front entrance and a handicapped accessible washroom.
“It will make the space so much more functional,” said Lebsack. “Upgrade use of the main elements of the library, service area and front counter.”
The town’s 2012 feasibility study for a community complex identified the existing library as being undersized for the current population and recommended a larger library be constructed as part of the first phase of a new community hub. However public input of household priorities and preferences didn’t identify library expansion as a high priority. The survey showed the library ranked as the fourth most important existing facility but fell to eighth out of ten in the category of facilities that needed to be built or enhanced in the next three to five years, according to Lebsack’s report.
As such it was recommended the library “could comfortably operate out of the existing location for the foreseeable future with an expansion to occupy the entire building when the Archives relocated to the new Municipal Government Building”.
Based on that direction a library expansion task force was established in February “to contribute to the development of a functional, attractive and cost effective community facility”.
Design work was undertaken with a final preliminary design and cost estimates presented in October.
The estimated cost of renovations is $400,000.
Asked if the library will operate throughout renovations, Lebsack said it won’t be physically closed but some areas may be closed off to allow work to proceed.
Councillor Matt Prete asked if the additional 900 square feet gained from the Archives space would bring it within the recommended size for a library in a town of Sylvan’s current 13,000 population. Lebsack said it would still be under the size recommended by the province’s Public Library Services Branch. But he added, “based on the feasibility study it would probably still be good to a population of 20,000”.