Source: Central Kitsap Reporter
By: Leslie Kelly
Posted: Oct 17, 2014

In the three and a half years that Melody Sky Eisler has been the branch manager for the Silverdale Library, hardly a day has gone by where someone doesn’t ask about a new library building for Silverdale.

But since the decision was made two months ago to build it at Bucklin Hill Road and Blaine Avenue, the conversation has changed.

“Now they ask, ‘When will our new library open?'” Eisler said. “Everybody’s excited and they want it to happen now.”

But before the doors swing open to the new 10,000-square-foot building, several things have to take place, said Jeff Brody, director of community relations for Kitsap Regional Library, of which the Silverdale Library belongs.

The first things was to select an architect for preliminary work.

Last week, KRL awarded a contract to Rice Fergus Miller Architects of Bremerton to develop a conceptual design and rendering for the new Silverdale Library.

The contract includes conducting a public process to gather ideas from the community for the library on the site adjacent to Clear Creek at the corner of Bucklin Hill Road and Blaine Avenue. Rice Fergus Miller will then develop a conceptual rendering of a library at the site that can be used in the fundraising process.

Brody said there is no cost as of yet for the architectural work, but the firm is putting together a quote for their services based on the scope of the work.

KRL hopes to have the rendering by the end of this year so they can begin to approach potential major donors to the library project.

“The rendering will not be a specific or final design,” said Brody. “Before creating the actual library design, we would want to engage the community in a conversation about the library and values the building should express. But we do need something that can help potential donors visualize the possibilities at the site.”

Brody said the library will be paid for through a capital campaign spearheaded by the KRL Foundation. The Foundation intends to pay for the property and construction of the building using grants and donated funds. KRL will not start construction on the project until it all needed funds have been donated or pledged, he added.

Rice Fergus Miller has worked previously with KRL on the design of the proposed new Kingston Library and on site analysis and site selection for the Silverdale Library.

A total of 11 architectural firms responded to a Request for Qualifications issued by KRL in September after the Silverdale Library site was selected. Four firms with extensive library design experience around Washington State were selected as finalists and participated in a presentation/interview process on Oct. 6, he said.

“Rice Fergus Miller received the highest scores from the interview process,” said Susan Whitford, KRL director of facilities and information technology. “Ultimately, we were most impressed with RFM because of their understanding of KRL and our needs, their understanding of Silverdale and its needs and their understanding of the site potential.”

Steve Rice, principal with Rice Fergus Miller and the lead architect on the project, said the firm was pleased to be selected.

“We absolutely love this opportunity to design a public building where all people can come together and enjoy state-of-the-art access to a universe of resources,” he said. “The Central Kitsap community has shown a real attachment to new facilities that fill a void. What’s great is KRL has made it clear we’ll be working with community members right out of the gate. Folks who care about their library will have a hand in planning it with us. It’s going to be wonderful.”

The contract with RFM is only for the conceptual design, but allows Kitsap Regional Library to continue working with the firm as the process moves beyond that toward the actual design of the building.

The next major action needed in the library project, Brody said, is an agreement with the property owner on a purchase price.

The 1.14 acres is being offered to the library for $900,000 by a private owner, the Sound West Group, LLC. It was one of four locations that were under consideration, including two on the Central Kitsap Community Campus that houses the YMCA and is owned by Kitsap County.

Brody said in the weeks since the KRL Board of Trustees chose the Clear Creek site, the library has been working with the owners of the property to develop a formal agreement to purchase the library site.

“KRL hopes to have a purchase agreement for board approval at either the Oct. 28 or the Nov. 25 board of trustees meeting,” he said.

The third front now underway is fundraising. According to Jamie Forsyth, it could take from four to six years to raise all the money that is needed.

Estimates are that the purchase of the property, the construction and furnishing of the library will be about $7 million. In recent years, two proposed tax levies failed, so KRL officials knew that raising the money through private donations, grants from foundations and donations from the public was what would have to happen.

“For a project this size, it’s not uncommon for it to take several years,” she said. “We’re working now on securing large private donations and grants so that when we start our public capital campaign, we’ll be almost to our goal.”

She said there could also be some state and federal grant money available which would make the process happen more quickly.

Forsyth is working with volunteers and members of the KRL Foundation to form a committee that will oversee the capital campaign. That committee will come up with events that will engage the public in the fundraising.

They’ve already got one thing on the calendar — an event with Lisa Stirrett, artist and glass maker.

“The Silverdale Library will be her cause in April 2015,” said Forsyth. “We will partner with her to raise money for the new library.”

Stirrett, who has Lisa Stirrett Glass Art Studio in Silverdale, each month features an item to make and gives a percentage of her profits to charity when customers come to her shop and make that item.

That’s just one example of the kinds of things KRL hopes to do with the community. Forsyth said she’s excited to get the community involved in the fundraising efforts.

And she added that anyone can give money or volunteer time toward the new library by emailing her at, or by calling Eisler at 360-692-2779.

In the mean time, Eisler will still hear that question: “When will the new library open?”

“I don’t have an answer to that right now,” she said. “But with the community’s help, it will happen sooner rather than later.”