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Library board considering schematics for new branch

The North Olympic Library System’s board of trustees and staff want your input on whether or not to build a bigger Sequim Library and if so, what it should entail.  - Sequim Gazette photo by Matthew Nash
The North Olympic Library System’s board of trustees and staff want your input on whether or not to build a bigger Sequim Library and if so, what it should entail.
— image credit: Sequim Gazette photo by Matthew Nash

Some big decisions on the future of Sequim Library may come as soon as this Thursday.

The North Olympic Library System’s board of trustees moved its monthly meeting to the Sequim Library, 630 N. Sequim Ave., at 5:30 p.m. April 24, to seek more input on the future of the facility.

Paula Barnes, NOLS executive director, said she anticipates the board voting to form a citizens advisory committee and a request for qualifications for a schematic design of a larger Sequim Library.

“The schematic design would give a much better sense of how many square feet it would be, a better budget number and rough visuals of what the building would look like,” she said.

In February, SHKS Architects revealed a nearly $7 million estimate for a new library at 17,150 square feet to replace the current 6,000-square-foot branch.

A schematics design could take nine-12 months to draft, Barnes said, and it would cost about $60,000. The design would not be an end-all, she said but a basic design of where elements of the library could go.

Elaine Frederickson, a board trustee, isn’t sure the board will act on a schematic design right away but did say a high priority for her was forming a citizens advisory committee to receive input from the community as quickly as possible.

Part of the committee’s role, Barnes said, will be to develop a project timeline for a proposed new branch and work with an architect on the schematic designs.

Frederickson said that forming a committee is just the beginning but some things are already apparent to the board members.

“We know the meeting room and the whole library is too small,” she said.

“We’re going to be very thoughtful because it’s hard to project the future of libraries. We know certain amounts but need to project 10-20-30 years from here and be thinking in terms of flexibility. We will proceed cautiously.”

More possibilities

Whether the Sequim School District proposed facilities bond passes or fails, Barnes said partnering with the schools in some capacity with facilities remains possible.

“They have a faster timeline than we do but we’ve had periodic meetings with the superintendent (Kelly Shea),” she said.

“I don’t think their plans are so nailed down that it would rule out a shared possibility. It’s still on the table as far as the library board is concerned.”

But before the library and schools can do anything, Barnes said they must answer a lot of questions.

“We need to think through issues like the cost and feasibility, but that’s why we want the community working with us on all aspects of the process,” she said.

One option to build a new library could come from passing a measure to create a Library Capital Facilities Area, likely following the boundaries of the Sequim School District, and asking those voters — about 29,000 — to support funding the building by passing a bond issue.

Barnes said if the board decides to pursue the expansion, it likely would take two issues to the voters in an upcoming election – creating the LCFA and to support the sale of bonds to fund the project.

The remainder of the costs could come through a capital campaign.

Prior to going to voters, Clallam County commissioners and the Sequim City Council must pass resolutions to approve the facilities area.

The commissioners would become the governing body for the library district but could vote to pass responsibilities to the library’s board of trustees.

For more information, visit www.nols.org or call 683-1161.

 

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