Sequim Library expansion to be on November ballot

SEQUIM — Months of planning, community outreach and architectural design toward expansion, the Sequim Library got its stamp of approval from its elected board last week.

The North Olympic Library System’s board of trustees voted May 9 to approve putting a $12.4 million bond proposal on the November ballot to fund expansion of the 6,050-square-foot Sequim Library to a 17,000-square-foot facility.

The five-member library board unanimously agreed to back staff recommendations for the expansion that would see all-new construction at the branch’s current location at 630 N. Sequim Ave., but would more than double the library’s size, add meeting rooms, reconfigure parking and add other amenities staffers said are needed with the facility’s heavy use in recent years.

“[The vote] is a commitment on our part,” board of trustees chair Mark Urnes said.

See more about the project at www.nols.org/sequim-branch-expansion-project/.

The resolution, Library Director Margaret Jakubcin said last week, takes the expansion proposal “out of limbo” and focuses the library system’s intentions into one document — complemented by an 85-page final report from SKHS Architects (available online at www.nols.org).

The board also voted to spend $1 million of the library system’s funds toward the project that is estimated to cost $13.4 million.

SKHS Architects estimated the building will cost $8.8 million, with $3.6 million in “soft” costs (permits, sales tax, a 10 percent contingency), and the library dedicating another $1 million for other costs such as project management.

Voters need to approve

For the expansion to be realized, however, voters would need to approve two measures in the fall.

That includes the creation of a Library Capital Facilities Area, or LCFA, that encompasses roughly the boundaries of the Sequim School District, with at least 50 percent plus one vote.

Voters would simultaneously be asked to agree to the bond proposal itself, a $12.4 million measure in general obligation bonds to be paid off older than 21 years, with at least 60 percent plus one vote.

Jakubcin pointed out that the city of Sequim would have to approve identical resolutions, since the Sequim Library is in city limits, for Clallam County commissioners to approve sending the measures to the General Election ballot.

“The city is acting independent of this; there’s no guarantee as to what they’re going to do,” Jakubcin said.

Ballot resolutions must be submitted to the Clallam County Auditor by Aug. 7 for the General Election.

Dan Gottlieb, a public finance lawyer, said Library Capital Facilities Areas do not expire once they are approved but if a bond measure fails accompanying it library districts typically run the bond measure again within one or two years.

They can only be rerun once, however.

This week’s presentation can help community members understand the scope of the project and the need, board trustees said May 9.

“It’s a good starting point for people,” library board trustee Elaine Fredrickson said.

The library system does not have a specific group appointed to promote the bond as of yet, library staffers said.

“That will certainly need to happen,” Jakubcin said.

The North Olympic Library System oversees public libraries in Sequim, Port Angeles, Forks and Clallam Bay.

For more information, visit www.nols.org or contact Jakubcin at 360-417-8500 ext. 7714 or director@nols.org.

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