Library board asked for decision

By Mark St. J. Couhig
Forks Forum Editor

North Olympic Library System Director Paula Barnes has sent a recommendation to the Library Board of Trustees that they award a contract to Hoch Construction, Inc. of Port Angeles to conduct an extensive roof and renovation project on the Forks Library.


The board will hold a special meeting today, Thursday, May 9, to consider the recommendation.


If they approve the $537,517 contract, Hoch will spend approximately nine months re-doing the library.

The roof and renovation project represents the first significant upgrade for the well-used and much-loved Forks Library since it moved into its current quarters 30 years ago. The work will include the removal of the existing roof and replacement with a new roof, new energy-efficient windows and heating system, removal of some interior walls to create more open, flexible public spaces, ADA-accessible restrooms, updated electrical panels and lighting, new paint, floor coverings and furniture.


Barnes said the bid price includes six additional project elements that weren’t included in the base bid, including a canopy over the meeting room door, a kitchenette in the staff lounge, assembling all the new bookshelves, re-cladding the exterior columns to make them waterproof, installing wall protectors along the hallways where the mobile book return bins travel and a communicating thermostat to remotely manage building temperatures by schedule, occupancy or event.


Hoch will have a big job, but there’s much more to the re-do.


New furnishings, signage and equipment are anticipated to cost an additional $101,750, while technology upgrades will add an additional $12,500 to the bottom line.


With design costs and temporary facility and moving costs, along with a few additional items including an expanded contingency fund, the total cost of the project is anticipated to run $835,000.


The project funding includes $275,000 from the NOLS operating budgets (2011 and 2012), $385,000 from NOLS timber receipts (2011 and 2012) and $175,000 from community fundraising.


Barnes said the community fundraising efforts will continue throughout the life of the project. “In fact, NOLS recently learned that the Rayonier Foundation has awarded $3,000 to the project, bringing the actual total raised to date to $171,000. It is very likely that the remaining $4,000 will be raised by the time the project is completed,” she said.


She added, “Every effort will be made to complete the project under budget.”

Closing up and moving

West End Library Supervisor Theresa Tetreau recommended that if the board of trustees approves the bid, it also should approve the closure of the Forks Library from Wednesday, May 22, through Friday, May 31, “to allow staff and volunteers to vacate the existing building.” The staff would set up a temporary “pocket library” in the City of Forks-owned West End Business and Technology Center (ICN Building).


Tetreau said through those eight days the shelving would be dismantled, with some used in the temporary location.


While some of the furniture will be reused in the newly renovated library, “most will be donated to local nonprofit organizations,” Tetreau said in her recommendation.


She said when service begins at the pocket library on June 1, “patrons will find a small collection of new and popular titles.”


She added, “If network capabilities are sufficiently established, they will be able to access three public-use computers, a public-use printer and WiFi.”


Barnes anticipates the renovation will require approximately nine months.


Over the past five years, check-outs of books and other materials have jumped by more than 12 percent at the Forks Library, from 75,901 in 2008 to 85,315 in 2012, or an average of 284 books, DVDs, e-books and other materials every day. An average of 190 people per day visit the library to attend a class, do homework or browse the book shelves.

Reach Mark Couhig at
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