The site of the new Woodland Community Library is beginning to buzz with activity as the library has set a goal to have the facility open next fall.
Fencing went up at the Lakeshore Drive site for the new library, east of Goerig Street, Oct. 17. When complete, the 7,500-square-foot building will more than triple the size of the space Woodland’s library currently occupies at its location at 770 Park St.
The project had a ceremonial groundbreaking during Woodland’s Planters Days on June 17. Since then, the Fort Vancouver Regional Library District, which operates the Woodland Library, awarded a bid for construction to Bremik Construction, Inc., for a contract totalling close to $6.5 million.
Though Bremik’s bid was the lowest, it was still above FVRL’s estimate of $5.8 million for construction, FVRL Communications and Marketing Director Tak Kendrick said. The project still needed about $1 million in funding as of the latest cost estimate on the district website.
Kendrick said the FVRL Foundation, the fundraising nonprofit for the district, is pursuing multiple grants to help cover the gap. Through foundation support and district reserves, the cost of the project will be covered, he said.
“But fundraising is still going on,” Kendrick said.
With the site prep work underway, concrete for the building foundation is set to be poured in December, with the structure itself starting to appear in January, Kendrick said. The district wanted to get started on the construction sooner than later.
“We really felt like we owed this to the people in the community, the people of Woodland and our patrons,” Kendrick said.
A new location for Woodland has been in the works since 2013 when the district commissioned a facilities study that identified the need. In 2017, the district purchased the land for the new spot for slightly more than $1 million.
The district serves libraries in Clark, Skamania and Klickitat counties as well as Woodland and also supports the independent Yale Valley Library District.
The architectural firm the district hired to design the building had multiple meetings to get feedback about the library. Through the outreach, it became clear that residents wanted “not just lots of books, but places where people can study, people can have a community space,” Kendrick said.
Alongside adult and children’s sections, staff offices and study rooms, the library also will feature a large community room and outdoor terrace.
The existing library is about 2,400 square feet in a building that was built in 1909. The Woodland Public Library moved into the building in 1926, which became a branch of FVRL in 1997, according to information from the district.
Construction of the library is planned to be complete in August, Kendrick said. Once the building is finished, the district can begin moving in books, computers and furniture ahead of the official opening of its doors.
“I think that fall of 2024 is still a pretty solid timeline,” Kendrick said.
He said it felt great to be able to show the progress on the library as FVRL has been working on it behind the scenes for years.
“We know the community’s been ready for this and waiting patiently, and we’re so excited to be able to really get going on this project,” Kendrick said.