The following is an update written by the Board of Trustees which appeared in the May issue of the Concrete Herald, and is available at the library as a handout.
The Upper Skagit Library District (District) has been providing services to increasing numbers of patrons while at the same time making headway on plans for a new permanent home.
Since 2014 a group of volunteers has worked with the library staff, Board of Trustees and Friends/Foundation to bring this vision to reality. As part of the 2015 effort the library staff and Task Force members developed a vision for the new library function and operations, detailed in the USLD Building Program. Further planning initially focused on a new building, which in April 2016 was determined to be financially unrealistic. In the summer of 2016, the American Legion Hall became available; it was the desired size and generally sound. Private benefactors stepped forward to purchase the Legion and undertake renovations before donating the building to the District in December 2017.
Since receiving the donation, the District has been working to insure that the building will meet the needs of staff and patrons now and into the future. The District needs to redeem its responsibility to complete all due diligence on the structural integrity of the building as well as to account for the proper functioning of the building environment. The District would be liable for any deficiencies that were not properly addressed prior to occupancy. A larger district would employ an architect to guide this process. Due to our small size, we are acting as owner-builders, and are relying on volunteers and the guidance of our project manager to complete these tasks. This means that projects aren’t always sequenced as quickly as they might be on a sizeable project. Additionally it is challenging to find contactors who want to work in our remote location, and we may pay a premium to those who do.
The District completed the new roof and interior structural repairs to the ceiling at the end of March. This work required that the building remain vacant while it was completed. The next step is to complete the interior which will include adequate lighting and electrical work that can provide the necessary support for the computer requirements. Due to the seasonal nature of the construction industry and this being their busiest time, it may be difficult to secure contractors who are available to complete this work. This may cause further delays. Our Library Director, Brooke Pederson, has taken another job elsewhere. In addition, our project manager Roger Howard has resigned for health reasons. The District is hoping to find a new project manager to assist us with preparing and administering the final contracts. The application process for a new Library Director will close on April 30th. Interviews will then begin.
Right now, we can’t guarantee an opening date. We want you to know that we are doing the best we can to keep the project moving, while at the same time providing patron services, transitioning to a new library director, and keeping on top of continually moving targets. Thank you for your patience and understanding for occupancy. We also thank the library staff who are having to assume additional work duties while the director search is going on. We plan to have monthly progress reports here in this paper as well as online. Review our timeline of progress here: https://upperskagitlibrary.org/web/new-building-project-progress/
We are all looking forward to the time when we can call for help relocating to our beautiful new library. Stay tuned. – Upper Skagit Library District Board of Trustees