East Side Branch Library

Learn about the construction of a new branch on the east side of Waterloo.

Project Background

Since 2015, the Waterloo Public Library (WPL) and the City of Waterloo have been working in partnership on the East Side Branch Library project. On June 20, 2016, City of Waterloo Council approved the RIM Park Manulife Sportsplex and Healthy Living Centre as a preferred location for a potential new East Side Branch Library. On Sept. 21, 2020, Waterloo City Council awarded the tender for construction of the East Side Branch Library to Fortis Construction Group with a winning bid of just over $7 million. A construction schedule is now being developed and more information will be released in the coming weeks. The new branch is scheduled to open in Spring 2022.

The East Side Branch Library will be an 11,500 sq.ft, one-storey building addition as well as a 2,200 sq.ft renovation of existing space (total library floor area of about 13,700 sq.ft) on the east side of the RIM Park Manulife Sportsplex and Healthy Living Centre.

See the East Side Branch Library design here


Construction Updates

Construction activity is currently underway at RIM Park to prepare for the library build. We are excited to share photos of the build in a special album on WPL's Flickr page.  

Please visit the City of Waterloo's website for more construction details.


Communication Updates

Throughout the construction process:


Construction Timelines

  • Construction is now underway
  • The new branch is scheduled to open in Spring 2022

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City Council awards tender for construction of the East Side Branch Library

September 21, 2020

Waterloo City Council awarded the tender for construction of the East Side Branch Library to Fortis Construction Group this afternoon with a winning bid of just over $7 million. A construction schedule is now being developed and more information will be released in the coming weeks. The new branch is scheduled to open in Spring 2022.

Click here for the City of Waterloo Council Meeting Agenda & Packet - Monday, September 21


Waterloo Public Library unveils final design of east side library
December 16, 2019

The Waterloo Public Library is delighted to unveil the final design of the yet-to-be-named library on the east side of Waterloo. This evening, City Council approved the release of funds to move forward to the construction phase of the East Side Branch Library which will be an addition to the existing RIM Park Manulife Sportsplex and Healthy Living Centre. A Request for Tender will be issued in January 2020 which will allow ground breaking to commence in Spring 2020 with opening anticipated in July 2021.

“We are excited to move into the next phase of bringing the East Side Branch Library to life,” says Laurie Clarke, Waterloo Public Library’s CEO. “As always, working with City staff has been a great experience and the entire project team continues to work diligently and enthusiastically on such an important initiative for our community.”

City and library staff worked collaboratively with the joint-venture team from John MacDonald Architect and Ward 99 Architects in design and planning for the new library, which included incorporating feedback from public engagement sessions held during the early conceptual phase. Unique features of the East Side Branch Library include a Trombe wall for passive solar heating and a “collaboratory”, an open, flexible space that will encourage, support, and facilitate community programming and maker activities. In addition, the design features a forest school, an enclosed, natural outdoor space that can be used year-round for dynamic programming and educational activities for all ages.

"It's been an absolute pleasure to partner with the City of Waterloo as we worked to turn the idea of a sustainably-funded four-branch library system into an exciting and tangible plan for the future,” says Karen Coviello, Chair of the Waterloo Public Library Board. “On behalf of the Library Board, I extend my thanks to Mayor Jaworsky and all of Council for their support of this exciting and innovative addition to the Waterloo Public Library."

“We are grateful for the support of the residents of Waterloo who remain loyal advocates and champions for libraries,” says Clarke. “We eagerly await the next chapter of the Waterloo Public Library.”

See the new east side library design here


Any questions can be directed to:

Karen Coviello
Chair, Waterloo Public Library Board
karenscian1@gmail.com


Laurie Clarke

CEO, Waterloo Public Library
lclarke@wpl.ca



WATERLOO PUBLIC LIBRARY TO EXPAND TO THE EAST SIDE OF THE CITY

November 21, 2017

The Waterloo Public Library (WPL) is excited to announce that a new library branch on the east side of Waterloo is one step closer to becoming a reality.

In a unanimous decision last night, Waterloo City Council voted to approve to move towards the construction of a fourth library location by proceeding to detailed design, as part of the RIM Park Manulife Financial Sportsplex and Healthy Living Centre.

After completing an extensive feasibility study and a series of public engagement exercises, WPL and City of Waterloo staff presented a report to City Council recommending the approval of the East Side Library Feasibility Study and proceeding to detailed design in anticipation of construction funding for a new East Side Branch Library to be considered as part of the City’s 2019 budget process.

“We are truly thrilled to be able to move forward with this new branch, and we thank the City of Waterloo for their collaboration and support”, said Laurie Clarke, Waterloo Public Library’s CEO.

Also approved was a new Funding and Operating Agreement between WPL and the City of Waterloo, which will be in place for 10 years. This agreement provides a sustainable funding model for the three existing branches. Funding for the fourth branch has been identified and will be added by the City of Waterloo as an additional amount in 2020. The East Side Branch Library is proposed to open summer 2021.

Waterloo Public Library currently has three locations, including the Main Library in Uptown Waterloo, the John M. Harper Branch in Laurelwood and the McCormick Branch in the Sunnydale neighbourhood.

“This is an important moment in Waterloo, for all of us at the WPL and for the citizens we serve,” said Karen Scian, Chair of the WPL Board of Trustees. “We have successfully secured sustainable funding for our current branches and have paved a clear and responsible path forward, to a sustainably-funded four-branch library system, including a new branch on the east side of the city.”

For any questions or comments, please contact:

Karen Coviello, Chair of the Waterloo Public Library Board
karenscian1@gmail.com

EAST SIDE BRANCH LIBRARY

Background

Since 2015 , the Waterloo Public Library and the City of Waterloo have been working in partnership on the East Side Branch Library Project.

To plan for East Side Branch Library service, the Waterloo Public Library Board commissioned Lighthouse Consulting in 2015 to undertake a needs assessment. The goal of the study was to engage the community to articulate their vision for the proposed East Side Branch Library and Main Library. This was achieved through focus groups and an online survey. Recurring themes for the East Side included strong emphasis on technology-based programs and services, inspiring space to meet and gather, tween/teen space, accessible location, free parking and opportunities for community based partnerships.

On June 20, 2016, City of Waterloo Council approved the RIM Park Manulife Financial Sportsplex and Healthy Living Centre as a preferred location for a potential new East Side Branch Library, the specific location, design and building amenities to be determined via ongoing review, a Feasibility Study including but not limited to schematic/conceptual design options, and public engagement.

Feasibility Study

In September 2016, studioCANOO Architecture was contracted by the Waterloo Public Library and City of Waterloo as a Consultant to lead a Feasibility Study which would address the following objectives:

  • Assess the proposed site for the East Side Branch Library
  • Provide conceptual/schematic drawings for a new library building at the proposed site
  • Collaborate with the Waterloo Public Library and City of Waterloo to create a public engagement plan
  • Provide a final report and recommendation in partnership with Waterloo Public Library and City of Waterloo to City Council in November 2017

The East Side Branch Library project team (comprised of WPL and City staff members) has been working collaboratively with studioCANOO to advance the Feasibility Study.

Based on the work to date, the project team is recommending that an approximately 11,500 sq.ft, one-storey, building addition and approximately 2,200 sq.ft renovation of existing space (total Library floor area of approximately 13,700 sq.ft) on the east side of the RIM Park Manulife Financial Sportsplex and Healthy Living Centre be advanced to the conclusion of the Feasibility Study.