Construction complete, new Ferndale library to open Oct. 29

After a delay of a few weeks, the new 15,000-square-foot Ferndale Public Library is expected to open at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 29.

The curing process for the building’s concrete foundation was slower than expected, forcing officials to put off the planned Oct. 18 grand opening for the new library built on city land on Main Street near City Hall.

Library employees are moving into the building starting Wednesday, Oct. 22, and will operate it prior to the grand opening of the estimated $4.7 million project .

The date for that celebration has been changed to Saturday, Nov. 15.

The project took years of effort and collaboration. Dollars donated by the community helped make it possible.

“We are thrilled,” said Norine Amend, president of the nonprofit Friends of the Ferndale Public Library. “It’s a beautiful building. It’s been a journey, and it’s coming out very well as far as I’m concerned. I can’t say enough for how well-designed I think the building is and how much the community is going to benefit from it.”

“It really belongs to this community in every sense,” Amend said.

A new, larger library is needed to meet the increasing needs of a growing community, supporters have said. It will have views of Mount Baker and Schell Marsh, along with natural lighting, radiant heating and natural ventilation.

The project is a collaboration of the city, Whatcom County Library System, Whatcom Community Foundation and the Friends group.

In March 2011, the library moved into its temporary home in Pioneer Pavilion, 2007 Cherry St., giving up its old space at 2222 Main St., which was remodeled to become a new and larger police station.

The temporary library space closed at 9 p.m. Tuesday, giving workers a week to move the collection over to the larger permanent home at 2125 Main St. and ready it for opening.

The shelves have been installed. The furniture has gone in, too. The collection — books, magazines, DVDs — is being moved starting Wednesday.

Walking through the new space earlier this week, the head of the Whatcom County Library System was struck by the view and the feel of the space.

“It’s got this beautiful, peaceful feeling to it,” said Christine Perkins, executive director of the Whatcom County Library System.

She also thought about the anonymous donor who sparked the fundraising effort coming into the library and “just being so excited about what their gift has done for this community and how many people are going to enjoy what came about because of their gift.”

Money for the project came from the city of Ferndale, private donations, grants and bonds — including a $550,000 bond approved by the city’s voters.

The city of Ferndale, which committed $1.25 million to the project, owns the building, but the library is operated and staffed by the Whatcom County Library System as one of its branches.