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Kitsap Regional Library explores options for a new Silverdale library

A new design concept of a new Silverdale library as part of the Central Kitsap Community Campus. This is a view looking south from the Haselwood Family YMCA.  - Rice Fergus Miller/Contributed graphic
A new design concept of a new Silverdale library as part of the Central Kitsap Community Campus. This is a view looking south from the Haselwood Family YMCA.
— image credit: Rice Fergus Miller/Contributed graphic

It's been 14 years since discussions first began about having a new library in Silverdale. Discussions still continue.

Although voters shot down Kitsap Regional Library's levy lid lift in November 2010 — money from that would have gone toward building a 17,500 square-foot library as part of the Central Kitsap Community Campus for about $9 million — library officials have not given up on bringing a new library to Silverdale and understands the community's need for a new facility.

The current 4,800 square-foot facility on Carlton Street has seen an increase in circulation throughout the years while its footprint has remained the same.

"They are alive and well — especially here in Silverdale," KRL Director Jill Jean said of public libraries.

At last Wednesday's Central Kitsap Community Council meeting, KRL staff addressed a  group of about 45 people in its continual desire to build a new library on the community campus in Silverdale but will ultimately let community members decide what they want, and where they want it.

Library staff hope to have a feasibility study completed by the middle of the year to have a better understanding of what people want.

A design concept for a new library covering 10,000 square-feet on the southeast corner of the campus below the "village green" was also revealed at the meeting. Jean said the library district and board of trustee's "top choice" would be to have a new 8,000 to 10,000 square-foot facility — a scaled back size from the version proposed to voters in 2010 — on the community campus.

Other options they are exploring include renovating an existing building in Silverdale or relocating to Kitsap Mall — either temporarily or permanently, Jean said.

Steve Rice of Bremerton-based architecture firm, Rice Fergus Miller, presented the library design concept that was "mindful of walkability" on the campus, green space and tying the notion of the campus being a community gathering place. Rice has been working on a new library design with KRL off and on for two years.

The new design concept includes a community room for public use, outdoor amphitheater-type seating, having a gallery space in the lobby and solar panels on the roof.

"The library would be enlivening the public space," Rice said.

The building would take up 24 parking stalls on the campus and would be located below the existing green space. It would not be more than one story high. Although there is no available concrete cost associated with the construction of a design of this type, Rice said it would be about $400 per square foot. A new 10,000 square-foot library would then cost about $4 million to construct, according to Rice's initial estimate. Jean said KRL's budget is between $400 to $500 per square foot.

While many at the meeting said they support a new library on the campus, they worried about how that would affect parking. Finding parking can already be a problem at certain times of the day when many people flock to the Haselwood Family YMCA on the campus.

Central Kitsap County Commissioner Josh Brown said that the lease agreement between Kitsap County and the YMCA states that all parking on the campus is available for all tenants. No parking area would be set aside for the 'Y' or future tenants, he said.

"I think it's good we have a crowded parking lot," Brown said. "But we know at some point down the road we will need a parking structure."

Peter Wimmer, a 13-year resident of Silverdale, is all for a new library but said issues surrounding the parking situation should be addressed earlier rather than later.

"Realistically, that's a long way out for Silverdale," said Wimmer in reference to the walkability of the campus. "Maybe we need to look at where a new parking lot would be."

Rice clarified that his "walkability" concept would be that residents would drive to the campus but then once at the campus, they would not have to drive from place to place, but rather walk from the YMCA to a new library, for example.

Kay Wilson, a community council member and also a member of the community campus design committee, liked the design concept but was worried that a new library at that specific location would obstruct the view of Dyes Inlet for people on the village green space.

"This is a wonderful concept but I feel a little sad that we might lose the long view," she said.

Jean added that in an ideal situation, a new library would also be built in an area where it would be able to expand.

For now, KRL will have to wait to see what the community's thoughts are after the feasibility study determines the needs and wants for a new library in Silverdale — primarily whether a capital campaign to raise money for a new library will be doable. The study will cost between $30,000 and $35,000, said Jean adding that it is being paid for three ways by the Friends of KRL, the county and KRL.

"We're here to talk with you about options," Jean said.

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