The new branch of the Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL) in Sooke turned another page in its latest chapter.
Capital Region Commercial Building Awards named the newly constructed building a merit award winner in the Community Institutional category. The $7.5-million library opened earlier this year.
Tsawout Longhouse in Saanichton won the overall award out of 58 finalists.
“We already knew the library was a winner based on the community’s reaction to it,” Amy Dawley, assistant director of VIRL’s service and building design division, said in a media release. “To be formally recognized in the Capital Region, an area of rapid growth with so many stunning building projects, is a great honour.”
Built on undeveloped District of Sooke-owned land on Wadams Way, the new library is poised to serve the community for many years.
Some key features and amenities of the 13,400-square-foot facility include an eye-catching circular design; children’s area; fireplace lounge; laptop bar; study space; bookable rooms; Makerspace with a 3D printer, and other technologies.
The library also boasts several sustainability enhancements to help ensure its operations minimize environmental impacts.
The branch has been built in alignment with the B.C. Wood First Initiative, which sources local, sustainably procured wood.
The parking area includes three electric vehicle charging stations for public use, one for staff and high-capacity underground bicycle parking.
To maintain a comfortable interior climate, the branch contains a solar-shading device to prevent heat in the summer and allow heat gains in the winter. The building’s roof is designed to capture rainwater and divert it to an absorbent rock pit and bioswale.
“As one of many local card-carrying VIRL patrons, I cannot say enough about what this shining new library contributes to the Sooke region. The entire project team should be hugely proud of what they accomplished,” said Jeff Bateman, VIRL trustee and District of Sooke councillor.