Advertisement

Kingston Frontenac Public Library main branch not opening until October

Kingston library main branch reopening pushed back to October
Library opening delay blamed on energy efficiency designation.

The Kingston Frontenac Library main branch on Johnson Street was originally supposed to open this past spring.

The $13.8 million renovation has seen more than its share of issues, including materials stolen from the site and a larger number of surprises than expected.

Project manager Rob Crothers says it happens when the majority of the building is 40 years old and the west end dates back to the mid-1840’s.

“We found designated substances, we found contaminated soil, we found holes that weren’t supposed to be there, we found electrical challenges,mechanical challenges even structural challenges,” Crothers said.

READ MORE: Kingston council approves renovation, expansion of Pittsburgh library branch

Those issues were supposed to delay the opening of the library until late summer, but now the project has hit another snag.

Getting a LEED Silver designation that signifies the energy efficiency of the building is slowing the opening down.

Story continues below advertisement

Yesterday, staff appeared before city council, asking the municipal government to approve a two month lease extension for the temporary library on Wellington Street and for the building on St. Remy Place, where the library is housing over 100,000 books.

Crothers says it was originally thought the LEED commissioning could be done in stages as work on each floor was completed.

READ MORE: Rideau Heights Community Centre opens to the public after years in the making

“We now have realized that to do a proper leed commissioning according to version 4.1 of the LEED process, you have to have the whole building done together,” Crothers said.

Crothers says it comes down to getting proper air quality testing.

“To finally get the air quality studies that we need,” he said, “we have to go back make sure it’s all clean before the library shelving, books and people are in and test all the air quality.”

That means library staff won’t start returning to the building until after Labour Day.

Laura Carter, director of branch experience, says that process will take several weeks.

“[We’re] looking at at least four to five weeks for all of those things to happen,” Carter said. “It’s books, it’s furniture, it’s security cameras, it’s door hardware.”

Carter expects a main branch soft launch should take place shortly after Thanksgiving, approximately six months later than when the library was first expected to open.

Story continues below advertisement

The one silver lining is that the renovation is still within its almost $14 million budget.