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‘Very disappointing’: Saskatoon’s new library hits road bump as construction bids rise above budget

The Saskatoon Public Library has put the new library on temporary hold after bids came back higher than the budget. Devon Latchuk / Global News

Construction on the new downtown Saskatoon Public Library  will not begin as slated after construction bids came back beyond the project’s budget.

It said the bids came back in late August and the construction tender has been cancelled.

The organization said it is looking for a construction manager to work alongside design and engineering teams to find cost savings in the project, and design changes won’t be known until early 2024.

Click to play video: 'Exciting learning spaces to be included in new Saskatoon Public Library'
Exciting learning spaces to be included in new Saskatoon Public Library

The library said it won’t be asking to borrow additional funds at this time.

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It added that five cost estimates were done between 2021 and 2023, but despite that bids were much higher than the cost estimates.

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“The situation we have found ourselves in is very disappointing, but it only represents a temporary setback for the project. The work ahead will help us better understand the discrepancy between the cost estimates and tendered bids and allow us to chart a path forward with confidence,” said Jim Siemens, the library’s board chair.

“We firmly believe that Saskatoon needs a new central library and we remain committed to delivering a building that supports the lifelong learning needs of our community. It will just take us a little longer to get there.”

Construction won’t begin this fall as scheduled and an opening date for the new library is estimated now for some time in 2027.

The library said the current central library was sold, set for possession in December 2026, and they are making plans to minimize service disruptions.

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