Plans to start construction on the expanded and renovated Sequim Library will likely have to wait until springtime and have pushed its tentative completion date into 2025.
North Olympic Library System leaders’ initial plans had the project going to bid this fall and construction finished by the end of 2024 to renovate and add about 3,800 square feet to the 6,200-square-foot building at 630 N. Sequim Ave.
However, NOLS received a conditional use permit on Sept. 28 through the City of Sequim following a review by Andrew Reeves, its contracted hearing examiner. The permit includes multiple conditions such as adding wider sidewalks along Sequim Avenue that the library system’s consulting firm SHKS Architects, Clallam PUD and city staff needed to discuss further, according to NOLS executive director Noah Glaude.
One of the issues with that condition was finding a place for existing transformer boxes on the southwest portion of the property to go in order to accommodate the expanded sidewalks, Glaude said.
He added that this condition was unexpected because city staff did not mention the requirement during preliminary permit meetings in the spring.
“Our design team and Clallam PUD have come up with a solution to relocate utilities that hopefully minimizes costs and disruptions,” Glaude said.
This one condition could add tens-of-thousands of dollars to the project, he said, but not stop it.
“We respect and are thankful for the City of Sequim staff who have carefully reviewed the Sequim Library plans and are helping make it a better project,” Glaude said.
City of Sequim staff recommended Reeves approve the project, with staff saying, “The Sequim Library is important as a necessary service provided to the public that is required in the City’s Comprehensive Plan.”
NOLS officials said they were waiting to go to bid for construction until they received construction permits from city officials so contractors can accurately bid.
“We’re hopeful that things will come together quickly now that the first review of the Site Construction Permit (Nov. 21) is complete,” Glaude said.
He said the library system will push opening construction bids into at least January and a construction start date to at least March, not wanting to open bids during the holidays.
The remodel wouldn’t finish for about a year from its start date — likely around March 2025, Glaude said.
City of Sequim staff could not be reached by press time.
When construction is slated to begin, Glaude said they’ll need to close Sequim’s branch for about two weeks to move into a temporary space formerly occupied by Brian’s Sporting Goods at 609 W. Washington St., Suite 21, next to the former JCPenney in the Sequim Village Shopping Center.
NOLS’ board of trustees approved a two-year lease in July for about $151,000 from Aug. 1, 2023, to July 21, 2025, to accommodate any delays.
Sequim Library branch manager Emily Sly noted in the Nov. 1 “Off the Shelf” column that NOLS will be using professional movers to move 52,500 books and library materials.
Cost to renovate the space — largely to make a restroom Americans with Disabilities (ADA) accessible, add networking systems, and replace doors — will cost less than $25,000, Glaude said.
“We have a solid plan,” he said.
NOLS officials sent out bid requests for construction on the temporary space and received two bids with Glaude anticipating staff making a decision by mid-December.
Community members should receive a mailer once dates are more firm, Glaude said about services.
During the closure, patrons can still use other libraries, and NOLS’ Bookmobile is anticipated to make appearances during the closure, Glaude said.
According to nols.org/Sequim, library officials have about $5.5 million of $9.32 million needed for the expansion and remodel project including more than $3.5 million in donations and grants. The leased space and its costs are not included in the estimate. Glaude said they’ve received more than $350,000 in donations towards the project from about 70 donors in the community this year so far.
Donations $250 or more will be recognized on a donor wall, library officials said.
If all of the funds are not secured, library staff anticipate pursuing non-voted general tax obligation bonds, according to a staff report.