Friends of the Manchester Library, including Kitsap County Commissioner Charlotte Garrido, Port of Manchester Commissioner Jim Strode and Kitsap Regional Library Director Jill Jean, helped lead a groundbreaking ceremony Saturday for the expansion of the community building. (Courtesy photo)

Friends of the Manchester Library, including Kitsap County Commissioner Charlotte Garrido, Port of Manchester Commissioner Jim Strode and Kitsap Regional Library Director Jill Jean, helped lead a groundbreaking ceremony Saturday for the expansion of the community building. (Courtesy photo)

Ground broken on expansion of Manchester Library

$300,000 project to be completed by end of 2021

PORT ORCHARD — The community of Manchester’s favorite little library is about to get bigger and better.

On Saturday, the Friends of the Manchester Library (FOML), a nonprofit organization that owns and operates the Manchester Library building in cooperation with Kitsap Regional Library and the Port of Manchester, broke ground on the first step of a project to both expand the library building and refresh its interior.

FOML Director Chuck Williams, a Professional Engineer (P.E.), is helping lead the construction project. “We are really excited to see our planned growth underway,” he said at the event.

Site preparation began in December with the excavation of a portion of the hillside and installation of retaining walls being completed. Construction of the exterior walls of the 900-square-foot expanded library is expected to be completed in early summer, and interior improvements will continue through the end of this year.

FOML officials said library services will only be briefly interrupted during construction.

While the groundbreaking event was subdued out of COVID-19 necessity, FOML Vice President Carol Kowalski nonetheless thanked a small, but enthusiastic group in attendance and the library partners for their shared vision in bringing library services to the Manchester community.

Nobi Kawasaki, who was instrumental in finding financing and helping to lead the construction of the library in 1980, also attended Saturday’s event. He told the crowd how the library’s boosters held nearly monthly salmon bakes to help pay off the debt on the building. In fact, the building’s 30-year loan was paid off in a mere six years.

The fundraising campaign theme for the project is “Refresh Manchester Library: Help Write the Next Chapter.” Project funding began with two lead donors offering matching gifts to support the effort. The project budget is $300,000 and the lead gifts will match community donations on a one-for-one basis, officials said.

Eric Cisney, FOML president, said: “We are planning to incorporate improvements suggested by the community and specifically hope to substantially improve the children’s area as well as add a teen section with this project. We are grateful to KRL for their willingness to support the interior upgrades.”

Among the significant changes, he said, include a fully ADA-compliant restroom directly accessible from the library and a new roof. FOML is pursuing construction details such as extra insulation that will add to the building’s “green” technology. A recent grant from Puget Sound Energy’s Green Power Community Grants is being used to add roof-mounted solar panels to the project, as well.

For information on how to donate to the project and see details on the progress of construction, access the library’s website at manchesterwa.org.

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