New library gets off to a fast start

The old Julius Fire Station on Gulf Road begins its transformation into the new Point Roberts library. Photo by Pat Grubb.

 

The backside of Julius Fire Station on Gulf Road was torn down in early October, kicking off the building’s redevelopment as the new home of the Point Roberts Library.

“They’ve gotten going pretty fast,” said park district commissioner and Friends of the Point Roberts Library (FOPRL) board member Stephen Falk, the liaison with contractor HBHansen. “They are supposed to have substantial completion by May 8 with final completion by June 8, but they hope to be done sooner.”

A grand opening of the new library could come as soon as next August.

Falk said that when the contract with HBHansen was signed on September 25, the two funding partners for the project had brought forward enough extra money to add alternates to the base bids: an expanded meeting room, expanded children’s room and air conditioning.

“FOPRL was more interested in a larger space and the Whatcom County Library System (WCLS) was more interested in air conditioning because of recent experiences at other branches,” Falk said. The WCLS board had already taken the unusual move of providing $160,000 for the project and approved an additional $22,000. FOPRL, having already raised over $700,000 went back to donors and raised another $75,000.

At the October 12 meeting of the park district, commissioners and representatives from WCLS and FOPRL signed a new memorandum of agreement acknowledging the additional funds and setting out the responsibilities of the three entities – the park district provides the building, FOPRL and WCLS provide the funds to renovate it, and WCLS will run it as a library. The FOPRL funds will be spent before the WCLS funds are used.

The park district has committed to providing the building as a library for a term of at least 50 years and will reimburse the funds WCLS has put in if they terminate the lease earlier than that.

The backside of Julius Fire Station on Gulf Road was torn down in early October, kicking off the building’s redevelopment as the new home of the Point Roberts Library.

“They’ve gotten going pretty fast,” said park district commissioner and Friends of the Point Roberts Library (FOPRL) board member Stephen Falk, the liaison with contractor HBHansen. “They are supposed to have substantial completion by May 8 with final completion by June 8, but they hope to be done sooner.”

A grand opening of the new library could come as soon as next August.

Falk said that when the contract with HBHansen was signed on September 25, the two funding partners for the project had brought forward enough extra money to add alternates to the base bids: an expanded meeting room, expanded children’s room and air conditioning.

“FOPRL was more interested in a larger space and the Whatcom County Library System (WCLS) was more interested in air conditioning because of recent experiences at other branches,” Falk said. The WCLS board had already taken the unusual move of providing $160,000 for the project and approved an additional $22,000. FOPRL, having already raised over $700,000 went back to donors and raised another $75,000.

At the October 12 meeting of the park district, commissioners and representatives from WCLS and FOPRL signed a new memorandum of agreement acknowledging the additional funds and setting out the responsibilities of the three entities – the park district provides the building, FOPRL and WCLS provide the funds to renovate it, and WCLS will run it as a library. The FOPRL funds will be spent before the WCLS funds are used.

The park district has committed to providing the building as a library for a term of at least 50 years and will reimburse the funds WCLS has put in if they terminate the lease earlier than that.

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