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Capital Bond Improvement Projects

Groundbreaking & Opening Events

Your Investment. Your Library. Your Community.

Planning Guidelines
Building Green
Architects & Contractors
Modified Services

Delivering on a Promise to Voters:

See what we've accomplished during the first 12 years of the KCLS Capital Improvement Plan: 14 new libraries have opened, 11 libraries have been expanded, 11 libraries have been renovated, and two parking expansion projects have been completed, in addition to many other enhancements throughout the System.

With just a few years remaining of the decade-long building program, KCLS continues to plan ahead to ensure that all projects identified in the Capital Improvement Plan are completed. Prior to the passage of the $172 million Capital Bond in 2004, which was strongly supported by residents, the Capital Improvement Plan was developed through extensive community outreach, involvement and discussion. The Capital Improvement Plan includes enhancements for all KCLS libraries and construction is currently underway at many libraries. Some community libraries may experience temporary Modified Services during library construction.

Prudent financial management will optimize funding for all projects in the Capital Improvement Plan. Although rising construction costs necessitated modifications to some library improvement projects in the past few years, the construction environment appears favorable for completing the remainder of projects. KCLS staff and the Board proactively developed Strategic Planning Guidelines to help guide decisions for each project.

View completed bond projects in our Eleven Year Report (PDF).

Strategic Planning Guidelines

Careful financial management will maximize funding for all Capital Improvement Plan projects. To do so, we're following our Strategic Planning Guidelines (PDF) at each stage of the Plan.

Fairwood opens as KCLS' newest library

The Fairwood Library opened Saturday, December 6, 2014 with an enthusiastic crowd of more than 500 people turning out to celebrate and tour the long-awaited KCLS facility. Thanks to the $172,000 million library capital bond approved by voters in 2004, the new library is 5,000 square feet larger than its predecessor. It has comprehensive interior and infrastructure renovations, more computers and materials, a community room, quiet study areas, and other features. The library is open 65 hours a week.

KCLS Interim Director Julie Acteson welcomed the morning gathering, followed by comments from KCLS Board President Jessica Bonebright and King County Council member Reagan Dunn (District Nine). Dunn emphasized how important and vital this library is to the Fairwood community, thanking KCLS and the Board of Trustees for all their excellent work. The Fairwood Honor Choir helped kick off the event, and children's singer and song writer Nancy Stewart performed inside the library following the ribbon cutting. Other dignitaries who spoke on behalf of the new library were Fairwood Elementary Principal Tricia Hoyle; Gayle Hayes, President of the Friends of the Fairwood Library, and Walter Schact, Principal at Schact-Aslani Architects, the firm that designed the new 20,000-square-foot facility.

Greener, expanded Vashon Library celebrates its opening

More than 600 enthusiastic residents braved the rain to celebrate the newly expanded and renovated Vashon Library on March 29, 2014.  The Free Range Folk Choir performed during the open house, and the Friends of Vashon Library provided refreshments. 

Speakers included KCLS Trustee Robin McClelland, State Senator Sharon Nelson, Vashon Honorary Mayor Kathi Jenkins and Vashon Fire & Rescue Chief Hank Lipe.

The library, expanded to a total 10,000 square feet, offers patrons a thoughtful place to read and interact, while connecting them to their green surroundings with enhanced views of forested Ober Park. The building was designed “green” as well, including a green roof to reduce storm water runoff and help keep the building cool in the summer.

The new library also features two study rooms, a reading room, and dedicated areas for children and teens, as well as a larger community meeting room equipped with an automatic drop-down screen, a large whiteboard and automated shades to dim the lighting for movies, slides or other presentations.

Breaking Ground for the New Skyway Library!

Community members celebrated the Skyway Library groundbreaking on the afternoon of Wednesday, July 9. As the crowd gathered, 25 children from the Renton/Skyway Boys & Girls Club's summer music program entertained the crowd with songs.

KCLS Interim Director Julie Acteson welcomed the community to the event to celebrate the start of construction for the new 8,000 square foot library.

"The new library will be within walking distance from the Boys & Girls Club, a middle school and several elementary schools," said KCLS Interim Director Julie Acteson.

A number of dignitaries addressed the crowd, including KCLS Board Trustee Jessica Bonebright, Friends of Skyway Library President Theresa McLean, West Hill Community Association President Bill Bowden, King County Sheriff's Office Captain Ted Boe and King County Sheriff's Office Deputy Brian Barnes.

"We appreciate the voters in the community who supported this project," said KCLS Board Trustee Jessica Bonebright. "This is going to be a great resource for the community."

Project architect Matt Aalfs highlighted the design process, which incorporated input from the community. He said the new building will have almost twice the space, materials and computers.

"Our goal was to design a building that is inspiring, full of light and strong colors," Aalfs said.

With gold shovels in hand, local dignitaries were joined by children with small shovels to break ground. The crowd enjoyed refreshments courtesy of the Friends of Skyway Library, balloon animals by Lolo the Clown and giveaways.

Bellevue Library - Library Car Show and Garage Opening - 2013

There's one sure way to attract a crowd at a parking garage: plan a car show.

More than 750 people gathered at the top level of the new three level Bellevue Library parking garage for a ribbon-cutting ceremony and car show to celebrate the completion of the construction project on the morning of Saturday, June 22.

As the crowd gathered, the SuperSones performed Cuban music. After KCLS Director Bill Ptacek welcomed the crowd, a number of dignitaries addressed the audience.

"We in Bellevue love libraries," said Deputy Mayor Jennifer Robertson. "The partnership between the city and KCLS is a wonderful thing; I can't wait to see the green wall go up."

In addition to 163 new parking spaces, for a total of 362 spaces, the project includes a green wall of living plants and license plate artwork by renowned Northwest artist Buster Simpson.

"Thank you again for your support of our capital bond," said KCLS Board Trustee Robin McClelland.

After the ribbon-cutting ceremony, attendees toured more than 40 classic, muscle, exotic, and electric cars while enjoying mini-donuts from Street Donuts and coffee generously provided by the Bellevue Friends of the Library. Lolo the Clown also was in attendance, creating balloon animals for children.

General Questions

Why was capital replacement funding needed?
What types of projects will the Capital Replacement Bond fund?
How was the Plan developed?
Why do most projects have different start dates?
Will these improvements take care of future needs?
Didn't you just build a new Seattle Public Library?

Project-Specific Questions

Why is parking so critical at some libraries?
What building repairs and maintenance are needed?
Is there a need for more computers and space for computers?
Why relocate a library when we already have a library?
I have a relatively new library. Why is my library included in the Plan?
Will open hours be extended?
How will libraries operate during construction?

Funding/Cost Questions

During the election you promised that the owner of a $300,000 house would not pay more than $25 for the 2004 bond. Is that still the case?
When will the bonds be issued?
How much is the levy for the bonds in 2016?
Are taxpayers still paying for the 1988 bonds?
What about the Capital Facilities Areas in Issaquah and Redmond?
Who is paying for the Capital Facilities Area bonds?
How are KCLS libraries funded?
What is the difference between operating levies and capital bonds?
Are there safeguards in place for keeping projects on time and on budget?
What accountability measures are in place to make sure KCLS will spend this money wisely?

We're following green standards when new libraries are built and existing libraries are renovated. Our goal is environmentally friendly, fiscally responsible building.

Our Green Standards
LEED Certification

Information for Architects, Consultants & Contractors

A $172-million capital bond has provided funding for new libraries and enhancements for all of our libraries during the next decade. As we move through our Capital Improvement Plan, construction work is currently under way at many of our libraries.

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Request for Qualifications
Application for Small Works Roster
Call for Art Proposals
Announcements of Finalists
News Releases
Contact Us

Modified Services & Library Closures During Construction

Providing consistent library service to patrons continues to be a priority for the King County Library System (KCLS), but modifications to library service are unavoidable during some library improvement and expansion projects. Each project will be evaluated individually, but we must balance convenience with safety and cost concerns.

KCLS will explore temporary services for each library or relocate popular programs to nearby facilities when feasible, but many services must be put on hold until modifications are completed. Construction projects will be staggered during the next decade, and patrons will be encouraged to use nearby libraries.

Ensuring Patron and Staff Safety

Some renovations may not cause a service disruption, but patron and staff safety, project efficiency and cost management are the primary considerations driving necessary closures. Even with a required wall to separate any construction work from the public and library staff, potential safety hazards may surface from operating heavy machinery, increased traffic to the site, the need for hearing protection and other risks associated with infrastructure and utility work. Closing the facility during construction helps keep the project on schedule and is significantly more cost-effective (there is at least a 25% premium to stage construction while the library is open).

Temporary Facilities May Not be Feasible

While KCLS originally hoped to offer temporary services nearby, staff is assessing the practicality for each project. Leasing nearby retail space may be an option in some instances, but associated costs with relocating to leased space can exceed $100,000 and suitable space may not be available. A far more cost-effective choice is to encourage patrons to temporarily use the next nearest KCLS library while their customary site is closed.

Utilizing Other Library Locations

Some library programs may be temporarily relocated to other community buildings, such as schools or fire stations, though this varies by community and time of year. Staff explored the option of reassigning existing mobile library services, such as ABC Express, but that would disrupt the current services in high-need communities.

Patrons are encouraged to visit any KCLS library for full service while their regular site is under renovation. Patrons will be advised of planned closures well in advance, so they can plan their shift to other nearby community libraries before construction begins.

Contact Us

General questions or comments

Construction Inquiries:
Greg Smith

Media Inquiries
Julie Acteson

Public Inquiries
Debera Harrell

Last Updated: 01/13/16