On Monday, August 21, ground was officially broken on the new Airdrie Multi-Use Facility and Library, located on Main Street. Construction has officially commenced.
Mayor Peter Brown, members of City Council, as well as Chair of the Airdrie Public Library (APL) Board, Daniel Nelles, all came to the construction site to celebrate the milestone. Others in attendance included members of the APL board, project leads, Carolla Fox Hanley, a Blackfoot Elder, as well as City and Library staff.
"We believe this facility will be a landmark destination that offers a wide variety of opportunities both indoor and outdoor for citizens and visitors to gather, connect and learn; and as a result, bring energy and vibrancy to our downtown. This project is a catalyst for change in our city," Mayor Brown said during the ceremony.
The new facility will be 73,000 square feet with 53,000 allocated for the library and 20,000 for the multi-use space, costing roughly $65 Million. The facility will have an underground parkade with approximately 100 stalls as well as ground-level parking.
"It's been the work of more than a decade to get to this stage and we've known for many, many years through facility needs assessments and other studies from the City, that [the current] Airdrie Public Library is fastly undersized for the population of the community that it serves. So, this is an enormous step forward for library services in Airdrie," Nelles said when asked how significant the day was.
This milestone comes after City Council approved the schematic design in April 2023. The schematic design sets out the general layout of the interior of the building as well as the elevation of the exterior of the building.
According to previous reporting, the initial estimate to operate the new facility is in the range of $1.1 million to $1.3 million per year. The life expectancy of the new facility is 40-50 years.
According to statistics provided by the Airdrie Public Library (APL), which was released this Spring, the current brick-and-mortar building sees quite a lot of in-person foot traffic. Wyatt Tremblay, the Communications Coordinator for the APL stated that 26,480 Airdronians have a library card, which resulted in 170,047 visits to the library in 2022.
"These library card holders borrowed 581,447 items, which equates to 7 checkouts per person for every one of the 80,222 people counted in the 2022 Airdrie census," he wrote.
According to The City, Airdrie has one of the highest-used libraries per capita with approximately 90,000 visits annually.
"The new facility will take into consideration future growth as well as meeting the provincial standards and comparisons of similar-sized libraries in Alberta."
The new Library and Multi-use Facility has been in the making since 2011 when discussions began about the need for a new public library and multi-use facility to address the growing population in Airdrie. Colliers was awarded project management oversight after winning the consultant bid in 2020.
"We're putting shovels in the ground and then for the next two years, you'll see [all kinds] of construction, doing all of the work necessary to bring this facility to life," Nelles concluded.
The opening of the new Library and Multi-Use Facility is currently set for 2025 and will be constructed on the site of Airdrie’s old fire hall located on Main Street SE.
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