Decision on library location to happen soon

Just where a new Silverdale library will be built is expected to be decided Aug. 26 by the board of trustees for the Kitsap Regional Library.

Just where a new Silverdale library will be built is expected to be decided Aug. 26 by the board of trustees for the Kitsap Regional Library.

That meeting is set for 5:30 p.m. at the Silverdale Library at 3450 NW Carlton Street in Silverdale.

Following many months of study and public input, the board will vote on which of four locations it thinks is the best for the new library building.

Details about the four locations were made public earlier this summer after the library received proposals.

Of the four, two sites are on the Central Kitsap Community Campus, which for years has been the location that folks have talked about when it came to choosing a site for a new library. The campus includes the area where the Haselwood Family YMCA is located, between Randall Way and Kitsap Mall Boulevard.

The two other locations include an existing 19,000-square-foot building located at 3888 N.W. Randall Way, just west of the community campus, and property at the corner of Bucklin Hill Road and Blaine Avenue, next to Clear Creek and across from the Old Mill Park.

Since the four possible locations were announced, the library has been taking comments from the public about what site is preferred. A public hearing on July 22 saw about 40 people show up and about 19 of them spoke.

Some favored building the library on the Central Kitsap Community Campus, including six members of the Central Kitsap Community Council, according to Jeff Brody, director of community relations for Kitsap Regional Library. Six others spoke in favor of the location near Clear Creek.

Brody said some who spoke asked the library board to consider plans to link the Clear Creek site to the community campus by creating a pedestrian-friendly area along the blocks of Bucklin Hill that connect the two.

“They offered the idea of a corridor between the two that would unite them,” Brody said. “They said not to limit ourselves and to expand on that idea.”

No one spoke in favor of the Randall Way location, he added. One person spoke against it, saying it could turn out to be the most expensive.

Brody said library officials have been careful not to tally and release information about comments received via email and at the drop box location at the Silverdale Library where written comments could be submitted up until Aug. 15. He said they did’t want to influence the process while public comments were being received.

But he said, prior to the board meeting on Aug. 26, “every single comment that has been received” will be put into a report that each of the five board members will review prior to the meeting.

And, at the meeting, he will have a matrix that will score each of the four sites based on criteria set by the library. Criteria will include cost, but that will not be the only factor. Public support, parking, traffic and other issues will be considered.

Additionally, Brody said that Steve Rice, of Rice Fergus Miller Architects of Bremerton, will present the board with “a good understanding” of what the costs of building a new library will be at each site. A general estimate by Rice for a new library at any of the four sites averages about $5.8 million.

“That will include the cost of site development, storm water handling, enhancements of curbs and sidewalks,” Brody said. “But there are some unknowns. For example, with the campus location, there could be future costs which will all be part of the contract negotiations, once a site is selected,” he said. “That would be part of negotiating an actual lease.”

Plans are to build a 10,000 square foot building, all in one story, to cut down on the need for more staff. The current library is about 5,000 square feet and has not been increased in size since 1980.

Library officials said 35 to 40 parking spaces will be needed, plus access to the latest fiber optics technology to support the computer systems. They preferred it be on or near a Kitsap Transit bus route.

The cost of the library will be paid through a fund-raising campaign that will get underway once the site has been decided. It could take up to two years to raise the money needed and, hence, construction is not expected to begin until the fall of 2016.