Potential Washougal Library sites, costs presented

Options include new construction or renovating an existing building

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A young patron reviews the selection of books available in the children's section of the Washougal Community Library. There are discussions regarding the relocation of the library to a larger, existing building or a new structure.

More than 50 people recently attended a meeting, out of support or curiosity about a future library in Washougal.

“I have the impression this community is just ready to go get started,” Nancy Tessman, executive director of the Fort Vancouver Regional Library District, said at the Sept. 23 meeting.

The question is whether to relocate the current library into an existing building or construct a new structure.

The cost estimate for construction of a 12,830 square foot, one story building is estimated to be $3.2 million to $3.4 million. That does not include the cost of the site, as well as $800,000 to $900,000 in indirect project costs, $330,000 to $340,000 for furniture and shelving, $130,000 to $140,000 for technology and $90,000 to $110,000 for an automatic materials handling system.

A two-story building would be estimated to cost an additional 10 percent, to cover the cost of an elevator and stairs.

A major renovation/upgrade of a one-story building would cost approximately $2.2 million to $2.4 million. The total would be $3.31 million to $3.64 million, after soft costs and other expenses are added.

Paying for construction or a renovation will involve $500,000 in the 2014 FVRL budget, as well as private donations and money raised by the Friends of the Washougal Community Library.

A $2.2 million to $2.5 million bond, if approved by voters, would cost the owner of a home assessed at $200,000, $35 to $40 a year, according to Tessman.

“This is predicated on good fundraising,” she said. “This is a very high priority for this community. You need a bigger, better library.”

The sites in downtown Washougal that meet criteria such as accessibility and visibility include a city-owned parcel that is currently a gravel parking lot next to City Hall, at 1701 “C” St., and a former First Interstate Bank building at 1625 Main St., owned by Lone Wolf Development.

The Washougal library, at 1661 “C” St., is currently 2,400 square feet.

Tessman said a leadership team will meet in a few months to refine the site discussion.