Construction begins on new library – La Conner Weekly News


The future is shaping up for residents of greater La Conner with the start of construction of a new “zero to 100” La Conner-Swinomish regional library designed to meet the needs of mothers of newborns and their great-grandchildren. -mothers, explains her project manager. The September 22 demolition of the Friends of the Library thrift store marked the start of significant changes at the southwest corner of Morris and Sixth streets in La Conner.

After more than a year of delay due to the coronavirus pandemic, the now empty lot will be occupied by a 5,500 square foot building, twice the size of the current library, by June if the schedule is met.

Be there by joining the on-site dedication ceremony at 1 p.m. today, September 29.

It will be the most exciting and visible action of the week. Contractor Tiger Construction, from Everson, will be mobilizing at the site in October, after completing another project.

Underwood & Associates’ project manager Jeremy McNett says it will be a slow start this fall, starting with an office trailer moving around the site with the equipment. By the end of the year, he expects the foundation to be in place, the walls in place and, “I hope they have a roof over this thing in January.”

The rapid assembly of the building will be due to the use of cross-laminated timber, CLT. McNett described it as “a bunch of 2 ‘x 6’ boards glued together to form a solid board.” He praised its acoustic and insulating qualities.

The fact that this creates a very strong framework for the building is only one of the reasons the material was chosen. This helps the project achieve a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) silver standard. The CLT frame is sustainable because it is a renewable resource. It stores carbon. McNett checked other LEED characteristics: low power consumption; LED lighting; solar panels; daylight controls and sensors, very high efficiency mechanical equipment and the site’s urban situation.

Once they start indoors, he aims for interior work to be completed by early April. “We are aiming for substantial completion by May 1,” he said. By June 1, he expects staff to move furniture, tidy up books, and prepare and fix any bugs in their library software systems, all while feeling comfortable in the new space.

McNett, an architect, likes the potential of the library, calling it “a beacon for community unity.” I hope this building will motivate further developments within La Conner; I hope this will inspire others to invest the same time, energy and money to invest in improving the life of the community.

He stressed that the majority of funds are donated, calling it “probably the biggest project La Conner has seen in this direction.”

The cost was $ 3.74 million in 2019 when it was fully funded. In 2018 and 2019, Washington State donated a total of $ 1.22 million. In June 2019, the Swinomish Tribe awarded $ 750,000 based on the $ 500,000 provided by Skagit County. The sale of the current building could bring in $ 450,000. Local donations, funded by Friends of the Library and La Conner Kiwanis, have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars.

To open, the building will have to pass an inspection to obtain its occupancy certificate. “When the director (of the library) feels they’re 100% done, they’ll do a grand opening,” McNett said, then cut a ribbon again and cut a cake.

The outlook for library director Jared Fair? “I am optimistic enough to move from here to the construction phase.”

But first, today’s inauguration. The public is invited. Fair awaits the presence of local and state elected officials. There will be Swinomish representatives and a blessing from Swinomish member Kevin Paul. Paul is also a member of the District Library Board of Trustees.

This library joins expansion projects planned, underway or completed in Anacortes, Concrete, Mount Vernon and Sedro Woolley.

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