Nova Scotia

New Halifax Central Library applies to fundraise $1.4M

Halifax's new Central Library project on Spring Garden Road is requesting to increase its budget through fundraising.

Library wants to keep original design elements

The new Halifax Central Library is scheduled to open in 2014.

Halifax's new Central Library project on Spring Garden Road is requesting to increase its budget through fundraising.

Judith Hare, the CEO of Halifax Public Libraries, said the library's $55.6-million budget is too tight and said it would like the city to grant the library permission to fundraise an additional $1.4 million.

Hare said those dollars will be private donations, not public money.

In its budget proposal increase application, the library is also requesting $600,000 of the $841,174 in reserve money for the project to be made available.

Hare said the library wants to ensure it has enough money to fund things like natural wood flooring and a ceiling that would give the building better acoustics.

Those designs were already in the budget and Hare said the library said the project remains on budget for now.

"It's a tight budget, no question, but we would like to have the cushion to make sure we do it right," she said. 

But if project costs start to add up, those designs could be cut.

"The architect had always intended the flooring to be hardwood, and we had always had the same ceiling design. The only thing is if you were trying to bring something in on-budget you might cheapen some of those finishes," she said.

"We feel that the library we have a real commitment with the public. After all those consultations people are expecting to see the building finished in the way the architect presented it."

Hare said if it fails to raise the $1.4 million, it will ask the city to cover half of any shortfall and it will cover the rest.

"It's very hypothetical because we would not spend it if we didn't raise it," she said.

Hare stressed the library would start cutting rather than let the project go over budget. The first thing to go would be the niceties such as the natural wood floor. 

"We will then make choices of, perhaps, not as nice a chair as the one that we would have liked to have bought," she said.

The city's audit and finance committee will look at that proposal on Wednesday.

The library is scheduled to open in 2014.