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Library board approves final design of new library, but start date pushed back to 2023

'It's a relief to think this is actually going to happen,' says library CEO

Note: This article has been updated to information from the city's project manager regarding the project timeline and budget.

Plans for a new, central library have taken a major step forward, with the board of directors’ approval of a schematic design. 

That design, unanimously approved on Sept. 21, aims to incorporate natural light into the building, along with outdoor reading terraces, space for a variety of uses and house the library’s archives collection.

“It’s exciting. This is a moment to celebrate,” said Guelph Public Library CEO Steve Kraft of the design’s approval. “It’s been a long time coming … at least 25 years.

“It’s a relief to think this is actually going to happen.”

City council approved the $62 million project in an 8-5 decision last October as part of the Baker District redevelopment. 

Stephen Gazzola, the city's project manager, said construction of a two-storey underground parking structure is expected to begin late next year, with the library completed in late 2025.

At this point, he added, the project is on budget.

"That being said, these are trying times for the construction industry as material and labour have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic," he wrote in an email.


The library will be a standalone, three-storey, 88,000 square-foot building at the southern edge of the Baker District redevelopment, along Chapel Lane.

“I think the public is going to appreciate the work that he has done. Certainly the board does,” Kraft said of the architect from Diamond Schmitt Architects. “Every department has been placed, so you know which department is where.”

Key among those departments will be the archival space on the third floor, a maker space on the second floor and the children’s area on the ground level. Also in the plan are private meeting spaces and catering amenities.


Richard Vivian

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