The Spokane Valley Library was built in 1955 and remodeled in 1986. Over the past 50 years, the population of Spokane Valley has doubled from an estimated 40,000 in 1955 to over 91,000 in 2013. The 22,900 sq. ft., three-story structure, is an ineffective configuration which limits access to the meeting room by elevator or staff stairwell only. The building was made larger during a remodel in 1986. It is situated on a land-locked corner with no room for additional expansion. Public parking is limited to 66 spaces 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, 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. It will provide more usable space for large community meetings and a children’s room, in addition to study and conference rooms for smaller groups. The single-story structure will be 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 cost to renovate Spokane Valley Library is about 80% of the cost of the same amount of 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 to maintain services, and furniture and equipment storage may be necessary.
If the new library is built, what will happen to the current Spokane Valley Library?
The current Spokane Valley Library will continue to house the District’s Information Technology Department, Outreach services, and will become the District’s Administrative Offices. This will allow for the expansion of Argonne Library, where the Administrative offices are currently located.
Park/Library Master Site Development Plan is available here