Saskatchewan

Keeping Regina Central Library's 'doors open' estimated at $50M

A presentation set for Regina's executive committee details the central library's inadequate heating system, aging electrical infrastructure and the presence of asbestos in the building's ceiling.

Regina's central library was only built to serve a population of 110,000, according to a presentation

The central library was built to serve a population of 110,000 and Regina's population of the 2021 census is more than double that at 249,000 people.  (Submitted by Regina Public Library)

The cost to address a multitude of issues at the Regina Central Library and "keep the doors open" is approximately $50 million, according to a presentation heading to the city's executive committee this week. 

The hefty price tag will only cover the renovations necessary to bring the structure up to code and does not include any improvements or changes to the space.

Among the issues that need to be addressed at the central library are an inadequate heating system and aging electrical infrastructure. Meanwhile the building's roof is only "set on top" of the walls and "is not reinforced."

The concrete in the building is also deteriorating, asbestos is in the ceiling and there are unspecified safety issues. 

Some windows are not insulated and many are installed backwards, the report says.

The central library was built to serve a population of 110,000 and Regina's population of the 2021 census is more than double that at 249,000 people. 

The catalyst committee 

The presentation comes as the city is set to establish the terms of reference for a new committee that will oversee a series of proposed projects that could shape the future of the city's downtown core. 

The catalyst committee is named after proposals dubbed "catalyst projects" because they're meant to generate growth, development and private funding in the city. The projects include a facility that would replace the aging Lawson Aquatic Centre, a possible replacement for the Brandt Centre, and a feasibility study for a multi-purpose outdoor facility geared toward high-performance baseball.

The modernization of the Regina Central Library has also been mentioned in previous meetings of city council and the executive committee.

The committee has been created in order to make sure the possible developments are developed in tandem, rather than being siloed from one another. 

Sean Quinlan, the chair of Regina Public Library's board of directors, will provide the presentation on the "renewal" of the central library to executive committee on Wednesday. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alexander Quon is a reporter with CBC Saskatchewan based in Regina. After working in Atlantic Canada for four years he's happy to be back in his home province. He has previously worked with the CBC News investigative unit in Nova Scotia and Global News in Halifax. Alexander specializes in data-reporting, COVID-19 and municipal political coverage. He can be reached at: Alexander.Quon@cbc.ca.

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