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Discussion: Pierrefonds Libray Extension - $20M

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    Victor Schukov: Pierrefonds library extension an investment in citizen happiness

    Published on: May 23, 2016

    Pierrefonds Libray Extension - M-design-pierrefonds-roxboro-library-illu.jpg

    I have a confession. A few years back, I used to practically live in the Chapters store in Pointe-Claire, speed-reading all of the latest books and magazines, and then walk out without buying anything. I looked upon the bright and airy bookstore as a library with mostly new goodies. My kind of clientele, of course, does not pay their utility bills. And apparently, I was not the only opportunist:

    Like a Tai Chi snail-paced version of musical chairs, they very gradually removed more and more seating. At one point, I considered bringing my own folding lawn chair but figured that I might be thrown out as a squatter. Then, I had a brainstorm: I thought, if I loved library-like reading so much, maybe I should go to a library. So, I switched to the Pointe-Claire Library, or as I like to call it today, The Greatest Library in the World, which tells you something about my unworldliness. I was hooked all over again.

    The books don’t all have that new-car smell, but the seating is abundant and there is no cloying satellite music to distract me from my reading. (I am incapable of multitasking and my lips move when I read so I catch myself lip-synching any lingering song.) And you can rent DVDs. All of this is Nirvana to someone like me who doesn’t own a cellphone nor an iPad. I prefer topping off my kettle of scuttlebutt in the analog way. And how much more of a pleasurable and convenient transformation can we make to West Island public libraries?

    Well, Pierrefonds is taking the high road with its $20-million extension to the Pierrefonds-Roxboro library, adding 2,300 square metres of space to the main floor as well as a basement and a terrace with a café. Wow. It’s like deja-vu at Chapters all over again. But wait, it’s going to become ground zero for all ages, co-mingling in a recreational setting that transcends the old idea of a library being just dull channels of aging books like in the opening scene of Ghostbusters. With the addition of a media centre, a 3D printing suite and a children’s learning lab, it is a design concept on the cusp of a new age. With that alone, it leads the West Island into the 21st Century.

    According to Mayor Jim Beis, more employees will be added proportionally. But, for me, the beauty of it all is that libraries are practically self-serve centres anyway. One doesn’t really need much help; it’s not like you are in Réno-Dépôt looking for a drill chuck key.

    In the future, the sky is literally the limit as we should see our libraries retrofitted with more natural lighting through skylights, and glass displacing brick. And maybe lots more internal greenery till you have that feeling of peace in the park. The grey days of single-purpose funereal public libraries will one day be a thing of the past. The City of Pierrefonds has it right.

    A modern designed library is an investment in its citizens’ wholesome recreation and education, and most importantly, happiness. With chairs that don’t conspicuously disappear into the Twilight Zone.

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    Plans for $20-million extension to Pierrefonds library set to go ahead

    Published on: May 10, 2016

    A $20-million extension to the Pierrefonds-Roxboro library will be going to tender in the next few months, borough Mayor Jim Beis confirmed Monday. Construction is expected to start this fall and be completed by 2018.

    The borough council took the last step required before going to tender with a motion at the council meeting on May 2, when the borough council approved the proposed site planning and architectural integration program unanimously.

    An extension to the Pierrefonds library has been in the works since at least 1995, according to the city’s 2013 master plan for cultural, sports and recreation facilities.

    “The facilities currently offered by (the libraries in Pierrefonds-Roxboro…) do not offer a ‘good’ level of service to the population of the borough,” stated the master plan, citing lack of staff and surface area. “However, once the new library is built, with the exception of the number of employees, the service could be qualified as ‘good’ for borough residents.”

    In addition to the building on Pierrefonds Blvd. next door to the borough hall, another library — the Roxboro library — exists on Cartier St.

    The planned extension will add more than 2,300 square metres of space to the main floor as well as a basement and a terrace with a café. New services, including a media lab, 3D printing suite and a learning lab for children, were included in the extension’s design. The extension is expected to receive an LEED Gold certification for sustainable development.

    “It’s going to be more than just a library, it is going to be an assembly point,” Beis said. “It’s not just a building to house books.”

    The extension should open in early 2018, Beis confirmed, and construction could start as early as this fall, assuming the quotes that are received during the call for tenders fall into the proposed budget.

    The estimated cost is about $20 million, with the provincial culture ministry and the city of Montreal covering 80 per cent of the construction costs. The borough must pay for the remaining construction costs and the library’s operating expenses.

    Until the library extension opens, residents can find library materials previously housed at the Pierrefonds library throughout the borough. “We had made a decision to house the books in satellite stations to make them available to the public,” Beis noted. Satellite stations include the basement of the Pierrefonds Cultural Centre, the Roxboro library and the East Community Centre. A contract to move the library materials out to these satellite stations was already issued, Beis noted, and will also cover moving the materials back when the extension is completed.

    The extension won’t be the only thing that’s new at the Pierrefonds library when it re-opens. New employees are also part of the package, Beis said. “Back when we had the project approved, one of the conditions was that we had to have the staff to go with it,” he said, noting that the number of new staff is still a subject of discussions.

    The extension’s design concept, a collaboration between architectural firms Chevalier Morales Architectes and DMA Architectes, received Canadian Architect magazine’s 2014 Award of Excellence.

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    The 3D printer suite sounds awesome. More libraries should have them.

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    This project went out to bid a few months ago and was won by Decarel but all bids were over-budget so some design tweaks were made.
    The revised bid closed today and was won by Lavacon.

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