Demolition date set for site of Saskatoon’s new downtown library

The Saskatoon Public Library is seeking a contractor to demolish the strip mall located where the new central branch is to be built.

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Workers will begin clearing the way for Saskatoon’s new central library branch in a few weeks.

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A request for proposals issued this week by the Saskatoon Public Library (SPL) seeks a contractor to handle demolition of the strip mall currently occupying 301 2nd Ave. N., as well as cleanup of the site once the teardown is complete.

Work is scheduled to start on Aug. 9, and the site is to be turned back over to the library on Oct. 24.

An SPL spokesman confirmed the demolition date, and noted the work will be completed in accordance with Leadership in Energy and Enviornmental Design (LEED), a green building certification program started in the ’90s.

“This will involve a comprehensive hazardous materials abatement process and recycling as much non-hazardous material as possible,” he wrote in an emailed statement to Postmedia.

More remediation work will be done at the site construction starts, which is expected in 2023. The new library is expected to open in 2026.

SPL has previously released updates on the building design after rounds of public consultation, most recently in January, when it released the schematic design for the structure.

These have revealed plans for a four-level building meant to evoke a traditional First Nations teepee, with a sloping exterior of modular panels in a basket-weave pattern. The interior timbers are meant to reference a Métis-style log cabin.

The first level will be for high-volume traffic and activities. The upper levels will be designed to be quieter, with spaces for more focused activities.

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Level one will have a holds pick-up area and new, high-demand collection, as well as washrooms, a coffee shop and a theatre.

The second level will have the children’s collection, the teen collection and “creation and innovation spaces.” Based on feedback, the children’s collection is separated from the rest of the library.

The adult non-fiction collection and community services will be on the third level.

Level four will house the adult fiction collection, the local history room, the gallery and a local storytelling and learning circle area with a natural gas fireplace and two-tiered seating.

The final design for the building is set to be released later this year, along with a budget update on the $134 million project, with a construction tender to be issued in the spring of 2023 and building work expected to start shortly after that.

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