Saskatoon Public Library says a multi-million-dollar increase to construction costs on its future downtown location has been covered by savings elsewhere in the $134-million budget.
Here are five things to know from the library’s most recent update, plus debate out of Wednesday’s city council meeting …
1. Citing “current market conditions” as the cause, the projected construction costs on its downtown replacement have increased to $79.4 million from $73.3 million. The library stresses, however, that there has been no cost increase to the project’s budget.
“We have absorbed the cost increases within our existing budget by reallocating the cost savings we realized in other budget areas and through the value engineering process,” the library said in an update on its website.
From the outset of this project, the library says, it “has applied rigorous cost control measures to provide the highest level of cost certainty.”
The steps the library says it has taken include contracting two independent cost consultants who, at the end of each design phase, each receive architectural drawings and provide cost estimates based on those drawings, taking any necessary steps to “align the design with the construction budget.”
The project remains on budget, according to the library.
2. The same company that bought the former Saskatoon police station has purchased the building and property at 311 23rd St. E — the current Frances Morrison Central Library.
Duchuck Holdings Ltd. bought the building and property for $4.45 million, the library said on its website. According to the City of Saskatoon’s assessment tool, the building’s property assessment value is $7,845,900. In budget for the new central library, a projected $4.6 million was budgeted from the library sale.
The transfer of ownership to Duchuck Holdings is set to take place on Dec. 1, 2026. The library said it “does not have details on the future or intended use of the building.” The new central library is scheduled to open in 2026.
The Frances Morrison Central Library will remain open and operating until “closer to the opening of the new central library. A permanent closure date has not been set,” the library said.
In September, a library spokesman confirmed that a buyer had been found for the 78,000-square-foot building, which was built in 1966.
In late 2016, the 64,000-square-foot Saskatoon Police Service headquarters on Fourth Avenue, across the street from the Frances Morrison location, was sold to Duchuck Holdings for $10.7 million. That building was built in 1977.
In recent months, Duchuck Holdings has also purchased the 137,000-square-foot, 11-storey Princeton Tower at 123 Second Ave. S, as well as the 11-storey, 156,032-square-foot PCS Tower, formerly owned by Nutrien, at 122 First Ave. S.
3. The construction schedule on the new building has been refined, with more specific information becoming available.
Remediation of the site will begin in late-summer, after which construction will follow. The library said the new central library remains on schedule to open in 2026.
4. The library says it will issue a request this spring for pre-qualification for general contractors, and will then invite select firms to bid on the construction. According to the library, the “general contractor’s scope of work includes both site remediation and construction.”
5. Council voted Wednesday to have plans drawn up to redesign the streetscape around the new library. This comes after the the library board asked to work with the city on accessible parking stalls, and an area for buses.
Previous discussion at committee focused on angle parking potentially removing driving lanes from Second Avenue. Representatives from the library and city administration said Wednesday that no final decision has been made on that. The library will pay the $175,000 cost of the design work.
Design options are expected to come back to council for debate at budget time. Councillors Randy Donauer, Troy Davies and Bev Dubois voted against the motion. Coun. Darren Hill was absent.
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