Construction of a new library in Sooke began today, marking a milestone for the facility that Vancouver Island Regional Library board chair Brenda Leigh says has been “a long time coming.”
The two-storey building on Wadams Way between Anna Marie and Townsend roads will house a 14,412-square-foot library, including a children’s area, fireplace lounge, laptop bar and community space.
“We have a clear vision for the future development and growth of our community,” Sooke Mayor Maja Tait said. “A vibrant and modern library was an important piece in our plans. I have full confidence that with this library, we are setting the wheels in motion for ongoing and sustainable development of Lot A, the Wadams Way corridor, and the surrounding area.”
The $7.5-million budget for the library encompasses all aspects of the project, including construction, furniture, and technology infrastructure. Also, there will be increased staffing, expanded hours of operation, and more scheduled programs.
The library board made slight adjustments to keep the project on budget, including removing a balcony on the rear of the building, replacing exterior siding, and other small modifications.
Sooke has been looking to replace its aging library for more than a decade, but the project has been delayed time after time.
“As someone who has been working on this file for years, there were times when I wondered whether we would ever get to this day,” said Rosemary Bonanno, VIRL’s executive director.
“This new library will evolve and complement Sooke’s ongoing transition into a destination of choice for people living and visiting south of the Malahat.”
Island West Coast Development is the library, construction contractor. It will begin by preparing site surveys, clearing trees and brush, cutting in an access road, and mobilizing construction sites.
The new library is expected to open in spring 2022.
– with files from Aaron Guillen