By Pat Grubb
Construction of the new Point Roberts library on Gulf Road is “going smoothly,” according to a progress report given to fellow Point Roberts park district commissioners by board vice-chairman Stephen Falk. Speaking at the board’s regular monthly meeting on December 11, Falk said the contractor, HBHansen, is projecting to finish by March 31, well ahead of schedule.
Falk said that while there had been a few change orders due to unexpected discoveries during the partial dismantling of the existing building, neither the contractor or architect expected further surprises given that the building was taken down to its skeleton before the remodeling commenced. A number of expenses turned out to be $10,000–15,000 lower than budgeted leading Falk to conclude, “I think for money, we’re going to be fine.”
With the new library expected to go on-line by late spring, at least two groups are circling around the space that will be vacated once the library moves into its new quarters. Speaking on behalf of the Food Bank, Henry Rosenthal and Dave Lee explained they needed to store foodstuffs in one consolidated space. Currently, the food bank has its supplies spread between the Shell gas station, the Point Roberts Marketplace and the community center.
“It makes it very, very difficult for us, in terms of lack of time or lack of energy,” said Rosenthal. “Having everything in just one location would save about 20-25 hours per week. We need about 500-600 square feet altogether,” he added. That would mean about a 50 percent increase from the 400 square feet the food bank currently occupies at the center.
Lee presented the board with architectural renderings showing how that much space could be carved out of the room on the southwest side of the building that is now used as a meeting room. Half of the room could still be used for meetings and would not impinge upon the space currently used by the library.
The Point Roberts Historical Society is calling dibs on that space. Speaking on behalf of the society, Pauli DeHaan said, “I didn’t bring a fancy proposal” but reminded park commissioners that their group had started asking for space in the community center starting back in 2011. The society envisions using the library’s children’s space as an archives room which would require a door to control access.
The rest of the library space would contain a “self-guided tour” of various historical artifacts and would still allow the use of the room for other purposes, explained Reneé Coe. “It would be nice to consolidate all of the historical artifacts that are currently spread all over town, some of it under beds,” Coe said. “I would like to have a continuing dialogue,” DeHaan said.
In other district business, the board members discussed the proposed part-time managerial position they hope to create in the new year. Commissioners Bennett Blaustein and Sonya Liu are in the process of finalizing a job description outlining duties and responsibilities for the position. The job would entail 20 hours a week with possible callouts for emergencies and pay $20 an hour with a raise to $22.50 following completion of a probationary period.