Reopening of downtown Kingston library delayed until March

It will be almost a year delayed, but the Kingston Frontenac Public Library’s central branch is set to reopen in March, according to library officials.

The library was closed in November 2016, and renovation work began on the Johnson Street location in early 2017. The library was originally scheduled to open in April 2018, but the reopening date was delayed until the summer of 2018, then delayed again until November.

Issues with the building cropped up in 2017 when demolition began and damage to the structure was discovered. The library also had to address the discovery of contaminated soil on the property. Materials, meanwhile, have been stolen from the site, and in August, a torrential downpour flooded the building.

In mid-December 2018, library officials said they were starting to move back into the refurbished building and that they expected the branch to open in mid-January. Although the project was significantly delayed, officials said in December that the project was sticking to its $13.8-million budget.

But on Jan. 9, library officials pushed that date back again to March 23. Although this marks yet another delay, this is the first time the library has offered up a specific opening date.

“Final preparation of the building is still underway,” said chief librarian Patricia Enright in a news release. “There is still some work to complete before we can open our doors and obtain full occupancy.”

Enright did not specify what those final preparations were.

Nevertheless, the move-in process seems to be in full swing, with the central branch’s equipment and books now back in the Johnson Street location. Library officials say that the number of items moved back into the central branch was equivalent to 30 houses worth of equipment and materials — a large move that was done in nine days.

The Wellington Street branch, which was open during the central branch renovations, has now closed, as has the St. Remy Place administration office and collection storage warehouse.

A pop-up library has opened at Artillery Park, and there are four other branches in the city to visit.

Until the central branch opens, inter-library loans and reservations from the central branch collections will be temporarily disrupted, and it will take longer than usual to fulfil requests.

“We regret the delays associated with this project, which have largely been beyond our control,” said Enright.

—With a file from Darryn Davis.

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