After multiple public meetings, three failed bond measures and some creative fundraising, ground finally broke Tuesday morning on the new Spokane Valley Library.
“This is a day we’ve waited for for a long time,” Spokane County Library District communications director Jane Baker said.
District executive director Patrick Roewe thanked the community, the city of Spokane Valley and the district’s board of trustees for their work in making the project a reality.
“It’s hard to believe the efforts to build this library started a decade ago,” he said. “We are thrilled to finally have the answer to the question ‘When are you going to build that new library?’ ”
The 28,000-square-foot building is expected to be complete in the summer of 2023. It will include a large multipurpose community room that can accommodate 200 people, an audio/visual studio, four conference rooms, a large children’s area and an outdoor patio. There will be plenty of room for STEM classes, story time sessions and more, Roewe said.
“The library is not a warehouse for books,” he said. “It is a hub for the exchange of knowledge.”
The new building will replace the current Spokane Valley Library branch on East Main Avenue, which was built in 1955 and is the oldest library building in the district.
The city purchased an 8-acre parcel of land at Sprague Avenue and Herald Road, and the district purchased nearly 3 acres of it in 2012 on which to build a new library. The city has plans to expand the adjacent Balfour Park into the rest of the site.
The district attempted three construction bonds that narrowly failed at the ballot box and was ready to give up on the project, library district board chair John Craig said.
“City officials encouraged us to try again,” he said.
The district got creative in finding ways to fund the project, which is estimated to cost $15 million.
The district used money from its capital fund, got a loan through the Washington State Treasurer’s LOCAL program and received a $2 million grant from the Washington State Department of Commerce. The city of Spokane Valley made a contribution and the Library Foundation of Spokane County is in the midst of a capital campaign to raise $1 million for the new library. Donations can be made online at www.supportscld.org/sv-library-campaign.
Spokane Valley Mayor Pam Haley said the city recently widened and improved streets around the building site and did utilities work so the library could be built. The new library will be across the street from Spokane Valley City Hall.
“This is something we’ve dreamt about for a long time,” Haley said. “The new library will become a hub for lifelong learning.”
Once the expansion of Balfour Park is complete, the park will act as a community campus for the library