A heritage permit for the Central Branch Renovations project was granted by Kingston City Council at its meeting on September 6, 2016. At the meeting, City Planning staff provided a report to Council, and KFPL board member and chair of the Central Branch Renovation Committee Monica Stewart, as well as Dr. Carl Bray from Bray Heritage and Ms. Susan Croswell from HDR Inc., the Library’s architectural consultant, spoke about the much-needed improvements to the building. You can view the delegation presentation in its entirety, as an archived recording will be posted on the City’s website.
The 1978 red brick building at 130 Johnson is designated as a historically important property, and sits on the edge of the Old Sydenham Heritage Conservation District (HCD), which is covered under the Old Sydenham Heritage Conservation District Plan. Due to this designation, alterations to the building have to conform to the guidelines of the plan. While, under these guidelines, we were not able to implement the original design featuring an expansive glass front with the arched windows outlined behind it, we will be able to implement many new features that greatly improve accessibility, improve the current problems with ice and snow falling on the walkway below, and make the building more energy efficient.
The main public entrance will be relocated one bay to the west, which will allow for better security when rooms are being used for community meetings after the library is closed. The corner parkette will be re-designed to offer a place to rest on a busy corner under the 40-year-old Honey Locust tree. The Wilson Room will be given a facelift, and the large 2nd floor bay window (the current foyer in front of the Wilson Room) will be re-constructed to deal with water and ice run-off problems. The new design of this window, featuring a large translucent piece of glass including “Public Library” signage, will mimic the current brick panel and signage but will allow for better views of the City and Lake Ontario for the new, additional meeting room that will be created in this space.
Thank you to the many patrons and interested community members who came out to our recent community sessions or viewed the proposed designs and provided comments. All comments have been recorded and will be considered as we move forward with the project. With the heritage permit now in place, we are now able to move the project forward on budget and on schedule. Next steps will include more detailed plans, applications for building and site plan approvals, tendering of the project and the hiring of a general contractor. Stay tuned!