A new home for the Woodland Community Library is in Fort Vancouver Regional Library’s hands after the library district finalized the purchase of acreage in the city earlier this month.
The purchase of 2.4 acres on the city’s West Side was finalized May 19 after the FVRL board of trustees unanimously approved the purchase, a release from the library district stated.
The property, costing the district a little more than $1 million, is located at 828 Goerig St., along the intersection of Goerig Street and Lakeshore Drive.
Currently that property is the location of Woodland Funeral Home, which until the business finds a new location will be leasing its current building from FVRL, the release stated. That current building is not planned to be repurposed by the district as it does not fit the needs of the library and is not Americans with Disabilities Act compliant.
Instead, a 10,000-square-foot facility along with parking will be built on the property, with unused land to be subdivided and sold, according to the release.
A new location has been in the works for a few years now, the release stated, as following studies and a pre-design workshop in 2013 and 2014, a need for a new facility was identified. The current library location at 770 Park St. is in a 100-year-old building.
With the land purchased, FVRL will be developing a full budget for the project, working with community partners to identify needs, the release stated. Securing the land was the first priority of the district, FVRL Communications and Marketing Director Tak Kendrick stated in an email.
Now that the district has its land, building specifications and a timeline to opening will come about through communication with residents in order to identify needs, Kendrick stated. Regarding financing, the district will be working with the FVRL Foundation and Friends of the Woodland Community Library to come up with a plan, he added.
“Having selected a site is great news. It sets the stage for the community and local businesses to come together and show their support for building a new library,” Rick Smithrud, executive director of the Fort Vancouver Regional Library Foundation, stated in the release. “I can’t think of a better investment than creating a library that will provide benefits to everyone for years to come.”
“The library’s role has grown beyond books, resources and programs to depend on other library services such as access to meeting and study rooms, as well as internet access and computers,” FVRL Executive Director Amelia Shelley stated in the release. “By building a new library in the center of Woodland we will be meeting those needs while providing a space that will be adaptive not just to new technology, but also responsive to the changing needs of a growing community.”
Woodland Community Library Branch Manager Jennifer Hauan gave several reasons as to how the new facility would be a boon for library services.
The 10,000-square-foot facility would have more than four times the space of the current, roughly 2,400-square-foot building. With a purpose-built structure, greater accessibility could be achieved compared to the two-story structure the library currently is in.
Apart from more space, a new facility means new technology, which Hauan said has become integral in library services. The Goerig Street location also brings the library closer to the entrance of town, allowing for greater visibility in the community.
Although there’s still much to be done before a new library’s doors open, for Hauan the anticipation is building.
“It’s tangible. I can go stand on that piece of property and visualize the new building,” Hauan remarked. “That’s exciting.”
“And to be able to communicate that to the community, that we are taking actual steps, and have taken a big step forward toward the new library is very exciting and encouraging,” Hauan said.