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Mechanical issues slow library progress

Anticipation swells for the new library and cultural centre, even though a completion date is up in the air.
A definite date isn’t yet available as issues arose with the mechanical system, said Peter Waterworth, Chief Administrative Officer (CAO).

In a brief to council on Oct. 23, Stantec Architecture assumed responsibility for the issues and is currently working to sort them out. At this point, it’s unknown whether July’s million dollar budget increase will cover the fixes or not.

“[Stantec Arcitecture] share[s] our commitment to deliver a high quality building and project for the community,” said Waterworth.

He’s pleased with how the building’s aesthetics “flow well” with the existing structure.

“It’s a remarkable building” that also “preserves heritage,” he adds. Premier Alison Redford and the Culture Minister were impressed by the building after touring it in early October.

“It’s a beautiful building,” agrees Judy Krefting, Director of Library Services.

She’s content that the project is moving along, even amidst the recent uncertainty. “It’s worth the wait, there’s not a rush for us to get in.”

In the new building, there will be room for mats, but also for what Krefting dubs “people space”, where individuals are free to sit and read books or work on a computer.

“It’s going to be great to be centrally-located,” said Marianne Garrah, with Habitat for the Arts. A new location allows Habitat for the Arts to be more visible than at it’s current location in the industrial park.

“It’s exactly what it is, space,” she smiles, “Space to explore and engage,” much like a “cultural lab.” It’s a far cry from the days when Habitat for the Arts was housed in an abandoned courtroom with carpeted floors, which aren’t always ‘art friendly’.

The new space “comes with everything” and caters specifically to the arts, so items like sinks or a special outlet for the pottery kiln don’t have to be installed.

Garrah doesn’t expect to move in until early spring as she is still figuring out details like programming and funding.

In the meantime, Watersworth said corners won’t be cut. “It’s got to be done right right.”

The new building, which began construction in Nov. 2011, will also house The Jasper Artists Guild and L’association canadienne-française de L’Alberta. A video conference room, sitting area, cafe, an office for mayor and council and multi-purpose room will also be included.

 

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