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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

Improvements are planned for all King County Library System (KCLS) libraries.

During the first ten years of the Capital Improvement Plan (PDF), we've:

  • Opened 13 new libraries

  • Expanded 10 libraries

  • Renovated 10 libraries

  • Completed many other improvements throughout KCLS

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

Our Capital Improvement Plan was created through community outreach and discussion before the $172 million Capital Bond passed in 2004.

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.

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.

First Newcastle Library Opens - 2012

More than 1,000 people attended the opening of the first Newcastle Library on the morning of December 8. As a flute and cello duo entertained the crowd, people gathered and took seats.

Once the ribbon-cutting started, members of Girl Scout Troop 43193 and Cub Scout Pack 497 presented the colors and invited the audience to participate in the pledge of allegiance. A number of dignitaries then addressed the crowd, including KCLS Board Trustee Jim Wigfall, Newcastle Mayor Rich Crispo, Congressman Adam Smith, 41st District Representative Marcie Maxwell, Deputy King County Executive Fred Jarrett, and the President of the Friends of the Newcastle Library, Julia Hunter.

"You couldn't have picked a better place for the library; it's in the heart of Newcastle," said KCLS Board Trustee Jim Wigfall, who resides in Newcastle. "I'm excited to walk down the hill and visit the library."

"This will be the place to go if you want to know what's going on in the city," said Mayor Rich Crispo.

"You've made this happen and it's wonderful to have this library in the community," said Marcie Maxwell.

The project architect, Bill LaPatra, detailed some of the building features and said they aspired to create a community gathering place. The building has several eco-friendly features including a green roof. Other highlights are a brainwave pattern in the glass windows and brick detailing that was inspired by the history of Newcastle's brick production.

Bill Ptacek invited the Scouts, dignitaries, and children to help cut the ribbon. Once the doors opened, community members were greeted by Dewey and Sketch and enjoyed refreshments, giveaways and entertainment by musicians with the Parnassus Project.

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 2013?
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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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.

Current Closures


White Center Library Groundbreaking

Thursday, March 19, 3 pm

Contact Us

General questions or comments

Construction Inquiries:
Greg Smith

Media Inquiries
Julie Acteson

Public Inquiries
Debera Harrell

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Last Updated: 12/31/14