By Noah Haglund Herald writer
EVERETT – An architectural firm is sketching out ideas for expanding the Everett Public Library’s crowded south branch.
“My commitment has been that in the next four and a half to five years, I really want to complete the south Everett library expansion,” Mayor Ray Stephanson said in mid-May, as the feasibility study was starting.
The city has agreed to pay Dykeman Architects of Everett nearly $22,000 for the work. Within three months, the finished study should outline concepts for a bigger Evergreen Branch and how much construction would cost.
Once the study is ready, library patrons also will get a say about improvements they’d like to see, city spokeswoman Kate Reardon said.
When built in 1989, the building on 9512 Evergreen Way was a satellite branch one-sixth the size of the main downtown library.
Today, it accounts for more than a third of the Everett Public Library’s total circulation. Last year, people checked out 399,847 items there, compared to 616,419 from the main library downtown.
City leaders have long acknowledged that the Evergreen Branch can no longer accommodate the rapidly growing and diversifying south Everett community. The recession, however, forced the city to put off the expansion. An earlier estimate pegged the cost of a 4,000-square-foot addition at $1 million.
Apart from more space, any renovation would adapt to new technology. The current building lacks enough electrical outlets for laptops or meeting rooms with Internet access. A cramped children’s area has forced decisions between installing bookshelves and making room for story times. Another shortcoming is space for early learning and teen programs.
Any additional construction would include more parking, said Chris Lark, a project manager from the city’s Facilities Department. That would mean knocking down a duplex that stands between the library and the Everett’s Fire Station No. 6 next door.
Everett’s library budget for this year approaches $5 million. Money for the new construction would come from another, still-unidentified source.
Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465; firstname.lastname@example.org.