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Waterloo chooses contractor for $10M library branch at RIM Park

Waterloo chooses contractor for $10M library branch at RIM Park | TheRecord.com

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A rendering of the planned new library at the RIM Park recreation centre.

WATERLOO — Waterloo council has chosen a contractor to build its next $10-million library branch, attached to the RIM Park recreation complex.

Construction will take more than a year and will start once a schedule is adopted.

The general construction cost is just over $7 million in a bid won by Fortis Construction Group.

“It will be great to get the library up and running,” Mayor Dave Jaworsky said. “It’s a project whose time has come.”

He figures when a family takes one child to the complex for sport, another child can go into the library to learn.

Highlights include a soundproof room for activities such as podcasting, a digital room for gaming, and space for creative collaboration.

The library branch off University Avenue East will be Waterloo’s fourth. It will have about 35,000 books, DVDs and magazines and will cost about $1 million a year to operate, paid by an increase in property taxes.

The one-storey library at 1,440 square metres will attach to the south-east side of the sportsplex, consuming 47 parking spaces.

Council made it greener than its initial design after tightening building standards and declaring a climate emergency to help save the planet from global warming.

Inside you will find lounge spaces, quiet reading areas, two quiet study rooms, and sit-down counters with power and USB outlets.

A collaboration wing features the children’s collection, a program room with a flexible wall, a fireplace, and spaces to make things.

“It has places and spaces where people will talk, engage, make noise, for lack of a better way to say it,” Coun. Diane Freeman said.

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The building is meant to be accessible to all, with open spaces, smooth floor transitions, wider hallways and lobby spaces, better lighting and surface contrasts, and accessible washrooms.

Outside you’ll see a glazed facade and a fenced-off forest school where young children can learn outdoors amid landscaping.

The roof will be made ready for solar panels. A solar wall on part of the building will store the sun’s heat and help warm the building in winter.

Jeff Outhit

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