Work continues on Edmonds Library renovation; opening now expected by end of year

From left: Susan McLaughlin, City of Edmonds director of planning and development; Chy Ross, Sno-Isle Libraries assistant director of capital strategy and planning); Lois Langer Thompson, Sno-Isle Libraries executive director and R.D. Burley, Sno-Isle Libraries assistant director of facilities, safety and security discuss the future of the Edmonds Library. (Photos by Craig Parrish)

Work continues at the Edmonds Library, where the 17,500-square-foot facility at 650 Main St. is receiving a top-to-bottom upgrade — made necessary when an irrigation pipe leaked and spilled 60,000 gallons of water on June 23, 2022.

More than 54,000 books and items had to be removed in the aftermath of the break.

Officials hope the library renovation will be completed “before the new year,” according to Lois Langer Thompson, Sno-Isle Libraries executive director. That timeline is pushed back from earlier estimates. In May, it was anticipated that the project would be finished by the end of September,  in what Sno-Isle Libraries called “an aggressive construction schedule.”

But it’s a common story that construction projects across the board have been hampered by numerous factors leading to a changed timeline: difficulty obtaining materials and resources, labor shortages and the list goes on.

“Just like a novel, a mystery story, there are always plot twists,” Thompson said of the evolving schedule. “And as you know, in construction, the plot twists and turns, and there were more unexpected things inside the building that we anticipated.

“Everything had to go exactly right, and there could be no unexpected and unanticipated issues in the building, and we ran into some,” she added.

The change in construction schedule hasn’t dampened the enthusiasm of project managers who led a tour of the site on Thursday.

Technicians work in the Edmonds Library on Thursday, Sept. 7. The remodel of the library is expected to be completed before the new year.

Sno-Isle Libraries’ Langer Thompson,  Assistant Director of Capital Strategy and Planning Chy Ross and Assistant Director of Facilities, Safety and Security R.D. Burley joined City of Edmonds Planning and Development Director Susan McLaughlin in a taking a small group tour through the building, starting with the top floor “pop-up” space that currently serves as the primary library.

Although that area emits a cozy vibe, there are obviously limitations due to its size. The main project, however, will offer a variety of amenities designed to delight library users.

Currently, the floor is largely bare concrete, and overhead is a daunting arrangement of black ductwork, lighting elements and wiring; some of which was being strung during the tour. Ross pointed out numerous features the library will have upon completion — not the least of which are the large west-facing windows giving a spectacular view of Puget Sound.

Among the many details Ross noted: a children’s area that will feature an interactive multimedia wall in addition to scores of books; a community room that will be available for a wide variety of uses, with full communication capabilities and a folding glass wall; and numerous computer workstations for projects such as desktop publishing and Internet access.

Once finished, Ross said, the library will be state of the art and continue its long tenure filling a vital role in the Edmonds community.

“We’re very excited,” Burley said.

Updated information can be found at the Edmonds Library Reopening web site.

— Story and photos by Craig Parrish

  1. I would like to learn more about how the project is addressing the problem of water, That the water gushed for about 12 hours indicates a serious flaw in dealing with water. Are they planting replacements for plants which require a lot of water. Or is there an alarm system for when water starts to leak into the building?
    Edmonds was fortunate that many of the books were saved.
    However the books which were available to choose seemed lacking in appeal to many readers.
    Libraries are very important to many. This long period of very imited services is really tragic.

  2. City of Edmonds owns and maintains around 20 buildings many are old! We like old buildings, but they are costly to maintain.

    The Library was built in 1992 and served Edmonds SD. City now owns and maintains it. The recent water issue was not the first water problem.

    Edited summary from City Capital Program 2023-2028 pg124 “Library Plaza Deck Waterproofing Project”

    “Library Plaza Deck is a green roof on the Library’s second floor. Deck surface was waterproofed and remodeled in 2003, since that project continuous water intrusion has occurred through the waterproof membrane.

    2018 Deck inspected to see how best to handle the water intrusion. The plan is to demolish and waterproof the existing plaza deck. 2021 a structural report was performed to discover any structural consequences from the years of water intrusion, building was deemed structurally sound and water intrusion not factoring in to building structural stability.

    The Project Benefit: Maintaining the building in operational and safe condition, in order to maintain partnership with Sno‐Isle Library system.”

    Further information: mold that impacts air quality has been discovered and cleaned and air quality tests show ‘air quality currently is within standards’.

    ARPA $’s can help but we’re not spending budgeted $’s for maintenance now. WHY?!
    Many more questions than word limit allows.
    Continuous air testing? When will we fix it? How many $’s?
    More Later.

  3. Thank you, Darrol for more details about the water problems at the library. I hope Sno-Isle and the city keep us informed about how the problems are being addressed. . Edmonds citizens pay hefty taxes to Sno-Isle.

  4. If they knew about the roof leak problem years ago, why not fix it while doing this renovation? Are we in for another long library closing when they do decide to fix it because a roof leak never gets better over time.

  5. Citizens need to stay informed about the water problem. Having limited library service is not right, especially for so long. Perhaps we need a change in the landscaping to avoid large amounts of water to endanger the building in the future.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Real first and last names — as well as city of residence — are required for all commenters.
This is so we can verify your identity before approving your comment.

By commenting here you agree to abide by our Code of Conduct. Please read our code at the bottom of this page before commenting.