Tuesday, September 22, 2020 – The permits have been issued, the pre-planning is complete, the wait is finally over…construction is set to begin on a state-of-the-art new library for the District of Sooke. Once complete, the community will have access to more than 13,000 square feet of space to browse materials, conduct meetings, access technology, build new connections, and so much more.
“It certainly has been a journey getting to this exciting point,” says Brenda Leigh, Chair of the Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL) Board of Trustees. “I would like to thank the community for their patience as we worked through the challenges of planning within a sustained period of intensive development on the Island, revising the design to align with the Budget and the District’s development vision, and all of the other pieces that needed to fall into place for a project of this scope. VIRL and District of Sooke staff are to be commended for never losing sight of the end goal and for steering us all to this momentous day.”
Features and amenities of the new branch:
- 13,412 square feet will offer a diverse collection, multiuse spaces, and more
- Iconic circular design will become a cornerstone of the community
- Exciting opening day collection curated for the community
- Increased staffing
- Expanded hours of operation
- Expanded program schedule
- Vibrant children’s area
- Fireplace lounge area
- Laptop bar
- Study space
- Bookable rooms
“The District of Sooke is poised for significant growth and development in the years ahead,” says Maja Tait, Sooke Mayor. “From a community development perspective, we recognize that libraries are quality of life spaces that make communities more attractive, vibrant, and desirable. Despite the ongoing challenges of COVID-19, these are exciting times for the District, and the new library aligns seamlessly with our goals for the future. Our entire community will be stronger and more connected when the new Sooke library opens to the public. This is an exciting day for everyone.”
The circular design is the vision of the talented architects at HDR, a firm with extensive experience designing libraries, academic buildings, community centres, health facilities, and more. VIRL has awarded Nanaimo-based Island West Coast Developments (IWCD) as the general contractor to oversee the project. IWCD has more than 30 years’ experience managing projects for a wide variety of services and clients.
The budget of $7.5 million includes the cost of construction, furnishings, technology infrastructure, and site preparation. Funding was secured through a loan from the Municipal Finance Authority to the Capital Regional District who transferred the borrowing proceeds to VIRL. Because VIRL is a regional system with a pooled budget, the costs of the new library will be shared by member jurisdictions rather than paid for by Sooke taxpayers alone through their regional district contribution.
Looking ahead, the next step is to work with IWCD on a construction timeline, which will be shared with the public when it becomes available. The latest news and updates about this project will be posted in the Capital Projects area of virl.bc.ca.
For more information
David Carson, Director, Corporate Communications and Strategic Initiatives
Mayor Maja Tait, District of Sooke