Construction to start next week on Sooke's new library

Construction is slated to start next week on Sooke’s new state-of-the-art library.

Workers will carry out site surveys, clear trees and brush, build an access road, and get the Wadams Way property ready for construction of the 13,000-square-foot building, which features an eye-catching circular design.

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“For many in the community, this day has been a long time coming,” said Brenda Leigh, chairwoman of the Vancouver Island Regional Library board. “In a year like no other, it is especially heartening to move forward with such a well-needed and long-awaited community amenity.”

The new $7.5-million library is expected to open in spring 2022. It will feature multi-use spaces, a laptop bar, study space, a fireplace-lounge area and a children’s area, and will offer longer hours and additional staff.

“We have a clear vision for the future development and growth of our community,” Sooke Mayor Maja Tait said in a statement. “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 surrounding area.”

Vancouver Island Regional Library services a large area, including Sooke and Sidney north to Port Hardy, Haidi Gwaii and the Central Coast.

It has 38 branches. Since 2011, the system has either completed substantial renovations on or rebuilt 13 branches.

Sooke’s library was designed by HDR architects, which has extensive experience designing libraries, academic buildings and other community facilities.

Nanaimo-based Island West Coast Developments is the general contractor.

The $7.5-million budget covers the cost of construction, furnishings, technology infrastructure and site preparation, the library said on its website.

Funding was secured through a loan from the Municipal Finance Authority to the Capital Regional District, which transferred the borrowing proceeds to regional library system.

Because VIRL is a regional system with a pooled budget, the cost of the new library will be shared by member jurisdictions rather than paid for by Sooke taxpayers alone through their regional district contribution, the library said.

cjwilson@timescolonist.com

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