SNOHOMISH — At nearly 110 years old, the Carnegie library is the oldest public building in Snohomish, and soon it will be restored to its original glory.
For years there have been plans to renovate the old landmark.
Earlier this month, the Snohomish City Council voted to hire a contractor to begin the work. Construction is set to begin sometime in early 2020.
One of the biggest changes to the library will be to the outside. An addition from the 1960s that takes up lawn space and blocks the historic entrance to the building will be removed.
The Carnegie library, at 105 Cedar Ave., was built in 1910 with a grant from Andrew Carnegie’s philanthropic foundation.
The council began looking for builders a few months ago, and chose Accord Contractors, LLC. The estimated cost is about $1.7 million. Work is scheduled to take eight months to complete.
The city received $1 million in state grants and the rest of the money will come from the city, said city administrator Steve Schuller, who has also been the project’s manager.
Along with removing the 1960s addition, upgrades to the building will make it more accessible to those with disabilities. There also will be a new heating and air conditioning system.
Electricity bills have been up to $2,000 a month at times. That number is expected to go down once the annex is removed and the heating system is installed.
Schuller describes the annex as a garage, with a concrete floor, cheap walls and a flat roof that’s been leaking for years.
“The heat goes into that 1968 annex and there is very little insulation,” he said. “So we’re just heating the earth right now. I don’t know what my heating bill will be but it’s going to be a lot less than it is now.”
The plan is to keep the inside of the building as original as possible with modern systems and fixtures. Once it’s complete, the Carnegie library will be used as a community space available for rent.
Until 2003, it housed the city’s public library. The next year, the Snohomish Carnegie Foundation was established with a mission to preserve the old building.
President Melody Clemans and the rest of the group have been working closely with the city on the project. They’re now trying to figure out what their role will be moving forward, and they’re excited for construction to start.
“We are just elated,” she said.