Six months after two explosions rocked the Strathcona County civic office, the library inside the community centre is set to reopen.
The Strathcona County Library will reopen on Wednesday, May 8. It’s been closed since Nov. 6, 2018, after two separate explosions were reported in the Strathcona County Community Centre parkade in the heart of Sherwood Park.
In late November, RCMP Supt. Dave Kalist said 21-year-old Kane Kosolowsky “purposely caused an explosion underneath a half-tonne truck on the lower level parkade.”
Kosolowsky was found injured after the first explosion and taken to hospital where he later died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The entire complex, which houses the county hall, library and other county services, was evacuated. About 200 employees returned to work 10 days after the blasts, while another 300 continued to work in temporary locations around the county, including the temporary library, which was set up at 100 Broadview Dr.
County officials said soot covered everything on the two-floor library, including books, shelves and other surfaces. Extensive cleaning and restoration work has been ongoing in the months following the incident, including a specialized cleaning of everything in the 200,000-item collection.
The mayor said environmental public health staff with Alberta Health Services have gone through the facility to ensure it is safe and no longer presents a risk to staff and the public.
“Many people have said to me how much they miss their library at the community centre and can’t wait for it to open,” Mayor Rod Frank said.
“You will have your ‘community living room’ back soon. I would like to express a sincere thank you to all library staff for their diligence as well as to citizens for their patience throughout this process.”
Work will now begin to organize the library’s collections ahead of the May 8 opening. The 55,000 items that have been offered at the temporary library will be moved back to the community centre between May 1 and 7. The temporary location will close at 9 p.m. on April 30.
“This is a similar process to our move from the Sherwood Park Mall in 2010,” library CEO Sharon Siga said in a news release Monday.
“We closed for a month, moved everything and set up again in the community centre. This time we’re moving less material, and we’re doing it in a week.”
Before the temporary library closes, people are encouraged to take out as many items as they want. Load dates will be extended by a week so people can return them to the permanent location in the community centre.
The majority of library programs and workshops scheduled for May 1 to 7 will be held in community centre meeting rooms. Details can be found on the library’s website.
Work to restore the parkade is “nearing completion,” the county said Monday. The parkade’s reopening date will be determined once building codes and AHS clearances are obtained, according to the county.
WATCH: Ongoing Global News coverage of the Sherwood Park explosions
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