Amid ongoing delays, Kingston Frontenac Public Library now set to open in January

The ongoing renovation of the central branch of the Kingston Frontenac Public Library has encountered a number of delays.

The reasons for those delays are many and varied.

Issues with the building cropped up in 2017 when demolition began and damage was discovered to the structure itself. Contaminated soil that wasn’t known about also had to be dealt with. Materials, meanwhile, have been stolen from the site, and in August, a torrential downpour flooded the building.

The library was closed in November 2016 to move books and equipment out of the building, with renovation work slated to start in early 2017. Though the library was originally scheduled to open in April 2018, that was delayed until summer, then further delayed again until November.

After the flood, project manager Rob Crothers was interviewed by Global Kingston in September about the November deadline.

Assessing the damage at the time, Crothers questioned that timeline. “Now we’re not certain about that,” he said.

It appears Crothers’ concerns weren’t unfounded.

The director of branch experience, Laura Carter, says the central branch opening won’t happen until the new year. “We’re looking at a mid-January opening date,” Carter said.

Library staff — along with books, computers and furniture — will begin to move back into the downtown Kingston location starting in December, Carter says. “The beginning of December through kind of the beginning of January, to move in with a little bit of a break over the Christmas holidays.”

During the move-in process, staff will also be undergoing extensive training on the technology visitors to the library will be using — training that will also include the state-of-the-art building itself.

“The building automation systems, so how do we control the lights, how do we control the heat, the climate control,” Carter said, describing some of what that training will involve.

During the renovations, the public library has run a small temporary branch on Wellington Street.

The lease for that location runs out in December so library users could be facing several weeks without a downtown branch.

Carter says they are looking at options to avoid a disruption in service.

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