Asbestos remediation at Coast Mountain College’s Terrace library is complete, paving the way for contractor site visits and renovation work.
The library is in the basement of the Spruce which was constructed in 1968, serving as the college’s main instructional and administrative building. In Aug. 2018, the basement library flooded when a toilet overflowed over the course of a night. No library materials were lost, but the damage requires a complete renovation, something that intensified in dealing with asbestos.
“The abatement was focused on asbestos that was found in some ceiling tiles, parging cement, duct mastic and vinyl flooring – all the usual suspects,” said Bruce Denis, project manager, in a July 24 email.
“Technicon from Terrace did the abatement work and we received air clearance yesterday which is fantastic news!”
With clearance now given, contractors interested in bidding on the renovations will be able to walk through the space to get a better idea of the scope of the work. Interested firms originally had until June 23 to submit proposals, but that date was moved to Aug. 14 so the college could finish asbestos abatement and offer site visits.
The provincial government has given the college $4.4 million for the project which will increase accessibility, upgrade energy efficiency and improve comfort for students.
“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 so that the space reflects Indigenous culture. It will include a 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 student studies and 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.
After the 2018 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.
The renovation is scheduled for completion next March.
“We are super excited to get it started,” said Denis. “It’s going to be an awesome space for our students.”