What are we being asked to vote on?
Don’t I already pay taxes to support the Library District?
What is the cost to homeowners?
Why do we need a new Spokane Valley Library?
How did the partnership with the Parks Department originate?
Why not renovate the current Spokane Valley Library?
If the new library is built, what will happen to the current Spokane Valley Library?
Why do we need a new library on Conklin?
Why does the Argonne Library need expanding?
What will the buildings be like?
When will these projects be completed?
When will the Election be held?
How can I find out more about the proposed library projects?
Two issues will be on the ballot in April 2014.
The Library District proposal of $22 million will fund three projects:
The Library District operates using funding from property taxes. If you live within the Library District boundaries you pay 50 cents for every $1,000 of assessed property value. These funds are used to purchase library materials including print, audio, eBooks, DVDs, music, digital resources, and computers, as well as to provide programs and services to the communities served. There are 10 libraries serving the 269,000 people living within the Library District boundaries. Operating funds are used to keep these libraries open 494 hours a week (Spokane Valley Library is open 7 days per week and Argonne is open 6 days per week) and allowed the District to loan over 2.7 million items last year.
The Spokane County Library District requests a dedicated bond for new Library buildings at a rate of 14¢ per $1000 of assessed property value for 20 years.
The Spokane Valley Library was built in 1955 and remodeled in 1986. Over the past 50 years, the population in the Spokane Valley has doubled from an estimated 40,000 in 1955 to over 91,000 in 2013. The three-story structure with its 22,900 sq. ft. is an ineffective configuration, limiting access to the meeting room by elevator or staff stairwell. The building was made larger during the remodeling in 1986. It is situated on a land-locked corner with no room for additional expansion. Parking is also inadequate with the District leasing space from a nearby business for staff parking.
In 2013, the Spokane Valley Library saw 308,935 people come through its doors and borrowing 620,267 items. That’s nearly 900 people per day. Of those visitors, over 19,000 attended library programs, and community members hosted more than 700 meetings at the library.
A new Spokane Valley Library is proposed for the vacant land north of Sprague Avenue across from the old University City Mall. The City of Spokane Valley is considering a Balfour Park expansion on the land neighboring the proposed library. This would create a library/park combination that would become a community gathering space.
The proposed library will be a 30,000 sq. ft. one-story, energy-efficient building, providing more usable space for large community meetings, in addition to study and conference rooms for smaller groups to gather. The single-story structure will be more efficient to operate and an open, flexible floor plan will meet current and future needs.
Preliminary site plan concepts and a public comment period were available in May and June 2013. The architects refined the plan throughout the summer. On September 12, 2013 a public meeting was held at the library/park location to show the proposed site plan. This proposed plan shows the general concept for the park and where the library would be located on the property. The actual building has not yet been designed.
If the bond is approved, building plans will begin immediately with construction breaking ground in 2015 and the new Spokane Valley Library opening in 2016.
The Library District was looking for a central Spokane Valley location along the Sprague Avenue corridor. The undeveloped property across from the old University City fit the site criteria. However, it was a larger parcel than needed for a new library. The Library District approached the City of the Spokane Valley with the idea of a park/library combination on that property.
The City of the Spokane Valley purchased the 8.1 acre property and the Library District paid for 2.8 acres, with what is in a sense, a refundable down payment, for the purpose of developing a library and park.
If the Library District can obtain funding through a bond issue by 2017 to build a new Spokane Valley Library, the library will be built.
If the District is unable to secure funding, the money used to purchase the land will be refunded and the City will use the entire property to expand the current Balfour Park.
Preliminary site plan concepts and a public comment period were available in May and June 2013. The architects refined the plan throughout the summer. On September 12, 2013 a public meeting was held at the library/park location to show the proposed plan. This proposed plan shows the general concept for the park and library.
Cost to renovate the current Spokane Valley Library is about 80% of the cost to build new space, yet most of its major deficiencies would remain. There would still be three floors to staff. There is no room on the current property for additional parking that would be required. It would be closed for up to a year during construction, requiring a temporary location and materials, and furniture and equipment storage might be necessary.
The current Spokane Valley Library will continue to house the District’s IT Department, Outreach services, and will become the District’s Administrative offices. This will allow for the expansion of the Argonne Library where the Administrative offices are currently located.
Residents in the Greenacres/Veradale area supported prior initiatives to build a library on the Conklin Road property, just south of Sprague Avenue, to provide service for the southeastern portion of the City of Spokane Valley. The property is close to schools with seven schools within a two-mile radius. The property is also adjacent to a potential Appleway Trail linear park. A prior initiative received support from surrounding precincts, however failed to garner overall approval.
The proposed Conklin Library will be 10,000 sq. ft. and will include study and meeting rooms, along with a collection of 30,000 to 40,000 items. The building will have an open floor plan that will be flexible to meet future needs. The actual building has not yet been designed.
The Argonne Library serves the residents living in Millwood and those living north of the Spokane River from Argonne to Sullivan. Conveniently located along a major north-south route and Upriver Drive with easy access to the I-90 corridor, the meeting rooms are used by the local community every day, and sometimes several meetings per day. Meeting room use at the Argonne Library has increased 58% over the last five years.
Expansion of this library will be into the current Administrative Offices and will provide a larger meeting room, as well as study rooms and a classroom. The modernization of this library, originally built in 1990, will provide 6000 square feet more space for computers, classes, and community gathering spaces, as well as update the HVAC with a more energy-efficient system.
All three library projects will be built to be open, flexible spaces that will meet current and future needs. Environmentally friendly materials will be used to reflect the character of each of the surrounding communities. New libraries will provide access to the collection of books and other resources, as well as space for community meetings and informal gatherings.
If approved by voters in April of 2014, an architect will be hired to design the new Spokane Valley Library and construction will begin in 2015 with an anticipated opening in summer 2016. Construction of the Conklin Library would come next, followed by the modernization of the Argonne Library. Both the Conklin Library project and the Argonne Library expansion are estimated to be complete in 2017.
The election will be held April 22, 2014. Ballots will be mailed and voting begins April 2, 2014. Voters wishing to vote on this issue must be registered to vote by March 24, 2014. Residents in Washington State can register to vote online at http://www.sos.wa.gov/elections/myvote/olvr.html
Open house/informational meetings:
Spokane Valley Library, Wednesday, March 26, 4-7pm
12004 E Main Ave.
Conklin Library (to be held at Greenacres Middle School), Tuesday, March 25, 4-7pm
17409 E. Sprague Ave.
Argonne Library, Thursday, March 20, 4-7pm
4322 N Argonne Rd.
You may also call Jane Baker, Communication & Development Officer at 509.893.8205 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.