Review to determine fate of Lorne Street branch library

By Emma Graney, The Leader-Post May 26, 2014  

But for now, Regina Public Library is just looking for an engineering review of the Lorne Street branch, the results of which will play a role in determining the building’s fate.

Jeff Barber, library director and CEO, said information on the public consultations will likely be released in the next couple of weeks.

First up, he said, the building has to be assessed. The library released a request for proposals (RFP) on Friday, asking a firm to “establish a minimum-cost baseline as (the library) reviews options to refurbish, renovate or replace the existing building.”

The contract will be awarded in July.

Despite the wording in the RFP, which certainly doesn’t rule out the possibility of a new library, Barber insisted “this isn’t about building a new building.

“We’re looking at this more of an update on the construction and status of the building,” he said.

“There has been a concern of the state of the building for quite some time.”

Barber named poor insulation and a roof and windows that need replacing as issues the branch needs to conquer.

A 2010 Regina Public Library report also listed off numerous criticisms of the central branch, from the size of the elevator to issues with the circulation desk, the ventilation and acoustics of the puppet theatre and the general layout and usage of the building.

That led to the development of grand plans for a new Cultural Centre Redevelopment Project, which would have housed a new Central Library branch, the Globe Theatre, restaurants, retail stores, a museum and a hotel. Although there were public consultations about the development, the Friends of the Library group criticized the project and accused the library board of a lack of transparency.

In the end the project was kiboshed after the Masons voted against selling their historic Masonic Temple, which is adjacent to the downtown library and was critical to the redevelopment plans.

Barber said the information from this new engineering review would “form part of the decision-making process for the board in the fall.”

egraney@leaderpost.com Twitter/LP_EmmaGraney

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