City of North Vancouver council has approved the library’s request to increase the budget for a new enclosed space by $250,000 using money from funds meant for the Harry Jerome Recreation Centre.
The library plans to convert a third-floor deck space into an enclosed terrace that can be used as a community innovation and learning space. The enclosed terrace will have an instructional A/V system, hardware and software, and flexible furnishings to support different programs.
“Customers of all ages will be able to access a well-equipped technology learning space to learn and practice digital skills, collaborate with others on technology projects, and learn about emerging technology,” said Deb Hutchison Koep, the chief librarian.
She said the terrace project had been in the works for the past two years and was the library’s number one priority.
“We have been putting a lot of effort and time into this. All of the current space has been utilised, and this would capture some additional footage for community needs,” she said.
The extra 700 sq. ft. space will also be available for other programs and free up meeting room space which is in demand at the library. “Customers will be inspired and supported to improve their skills and to connect with one another.”
The council had earlier approved $400,000 for this project in the 2018 financial plan, but the final cost came to $675,000. The increase is partly due to construction cost going up and the complexity of enclosing the space for public technology use, which requires extensive work to the building envelope, mechanical systems and electrical components.
Enclosing the space also required more electric work to meet the demands for technology equipment. The cost also increased because the library is planning to add more storage cabinets. To make up for the shortfall, the staff suggested the council allocate the extra money from the Civic Amenity Reserve Fund.
The council had planned an appropriation of $14.5 million for the Harry Jerome Recreation Centre, but that project doesn’t require any funding until next year. Councillors were supportive of giving the extra $250,000, but Mayor Linda Buchanan urged the library to find ways to complete the project under the $650,000 budget.