Contractor sought for Green Lake library upgrades

The historically landmarked Green Lake Branch of the Seattle Public Library is set for a seismic upgrade and renovations.

Constructed in 1909, the Green Lake Branch is one of three existing Carnegie Libraries in the Seattle Public Library system. It was designed by architects Woodruff Somerville and Joseph Cote and follows the traditional Carnegie layout with a symmetrical main floor plan with two reading rooms on either side of the entrance and lobby. An additional smaller room is at the north end of the main floor plan. A lower level contains an auditorium, staff work areas, restrooms, and a former mechanical room.

The 9,557-square-foot, two-story URM building is in need of a full seismic upgrade and a host of other upgrades that include the replacement of existing HVAC and fire alarm systems, modification to plumbing, fire sprinkler service, electrical systems, structural upgrades including shotcrete walls and steel moment frames, the replacement of an existing elevator, excavation and site improvements for accessibility upgrades, and low voltage and security improvements.

Project architect BuildingWork said that planned renovations will “respect and preserve the Carnegie legacy represented in the historic architecture, while integrating a host of critical, contemporary improvements.” A new steel structure will bring the building up to seismic code and will be partly exposed in the library’s main level but thoughtfully integrated with the historic architecture.

Internally, renderings show upgraded, light-filled, reading rooms with character defining original features such as dark-stained oak perimeter shelving and plaster pilasters, capitals, and crown molding maintained. In the main reading room, a non-original, asymmetrical circulation desk will be removed and replaced with a new central circulation desk, which Building Work says is “more in keeping with the original Carnegie layout.”

The current book processing area (located in a former librarian’s office) will be relocated to a new enclosure behind the new circulation desk, and the original librarian’s office will be converted to two new study rooms. At the lower level, staff work areas will be remodeled and expanded into the former mechanical room. The auditorium will be upgraded with new lighting and finishes to support the increased need for public meeting space.

The building last underwent a remodel in 2007 by Snyder Hartung Kane Strauss Architects. The current project is targeting LEED Gold. Construction is due to start at the end of 2022. Construction bids are due by 10 a.m. July 12. Bidders must attend one of two mandatory meetings and site inspections to be held June 7 and 9.

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