The library at Coast Mountain College is set for a face lift. The provincial government is investing $4.4 million to repair flood damage and renovate the space which is located in the basement of the Spruce Building at the college’s Terrace campus.
“The library renewal is a very exciting project for our Terrace students who have been accessing library services from a smaller, temporary location since the flood in 2018,” said Justin Kohlman, president of Coast Mountain College in a news release. “The new space will not only reflect Indigenous ways of learning and knowing, it will give students and instructors a modern and comfortable space for study, teaching and learning.”
The Spruce Building dates back to the 1970s and is the college’s main instructional and administrative building. In Aug. 2018, the library flooded when a toilet overflowed over the course of one night. No materials from the library’s book collection or other resources were lost in the flood.
After the flood, Coast Mountain College created a pop-up library space in its new trades structure called the Cedar Building. Some students have voiced concerns about the space not being able to meet their needs regarding the amount of quiet space and resources available.
Work on the renovation is expected to start this summer. The Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training said the project will employ dozens of local tradespeople.
The renovation will increase accessibility, upgrade energy efficiency and improve comfort for students. It includes asbestos remediation to bring the building up to current code standards.
“We’ve sought input from our students, so we’ve had forums in the cafe area with students where they had an opportunity to provide input on design, colour, layout, that sort of thing,” said Sarah Zimmerman, executive director of communications at Coast Mountain College.
A design team worked with Coast Mountain’s First Nations Council to design the space to reflect Indigenous culture. It will include an Indigenous reading circle using local cedar and the ceiling design is wooden and is meant to represent the Skeena River watershed.
The new library will also have informal learning spaces that can accommodate students that are studying and doing research. There will be a lab to host non-credit workshops and serve as a space for tutoring and a dedicated area for kids, so that student-parents can continue to study while caring for their children.
Coast Mountain College is seeking a construction management firm to provide pre-construction services and and general contractor services. Interested firms have until Tuesday, June 23 to submit proposals. The college expects to sign a final agreement on July 27.