The Village of Kingston has big plans in mind for its main administrative center and one of its cultural nexuses.
The village offices will soon be relocating to the old CIBC building, two doors down on Main Street from its current location which it shares with the library.
The village’s plan to move its offices to the empty brick building from the location it’s been in since 1997 is part of a larger plan that involves the expansion of the local village library, which shares a location with the offices at 671 Main St.
“We had discussions, and ultimately decided it would be best to move the village office to the old CIBC branch building,” explained Kingston clerk treasurer Mike McCleave, speaking to Kings County News in the current village office. “We’re going to expand our current library, which is located behind these walls, into this space as well.”
John Pierce, chairman of the village commission, noted the CIBC space was chosen for the village offices, because it wasn’t in line with the plans the village has for the library.
“We’re running a 1,000-square-foot library currently, and by moving the village office to the CIBC building, it’s going to allow us to enlarge the library to 2,500 square feet,” Pierce said.
Pierce noted that physical expansion will allow for an expansion of the programming offered at the library.
“Hopefully, it will be a bit of a community hub as well. Most libraries are no longer just places to take out books anymore,” Pierce said. “We want to bring that concept here to Kingston.”
THE TASK AHEAD
McCleave noted the process of moving an entire village will be an onerous one, as it entails far more than just loading everything into boxes and walking two doors down with it.
“It’s going to be a cumbersome task, just with all the files we have stored,” McCleave said. “And with that we have to change addresses on all the material, letterhead and banking information.”
The village offices need to be moved first, before any work can begin on expanding the library, McCleave noted, adding that the village is expecting that to be completed by mid-autumn, with a November move-in date being the latest.
“Once we’ve moved out of here, the construction for this building can begin,” McCleave noted. “We’re hoping to finish the library expansion this fiscal year, before the end of March.”
WHO’S PICKING UP THE TAB?
Cost-wise, McCleave noted the village budgeted $175,000 for a series of renovations to the old CIBC building to get it ready to accommodate the village offices, and for the necessary work to upgrade the library once the village offices are moved to their new location.
To help with the costs of relocation and renovation, the village has sought provincial and federal financial assistance.
“There’s no guaranteed amount yet, so depending on their funding levels, we may have to increase our funding to offset the costs,” McCleave said. “After discussion with the architects and engineers, we understand that the budget may have to be increased depending on funding from other levels of government.”
McCleave noted the village has also looked into Efficiency NS rebates.
Before the old CIBC building can accommodate the village offices, some changes need to be made.
“It’s going to almost be a full gutting of the ground floor. There are a couple of walls we’re going to be keeping, but we’re going to create a new board room and office space for us,” McCleave said. “It’s really a whole new renovation of the bottom floor.”
The second floor of the building, McCleave added, will remain mostly intact.
The village also plans to have the lights and heating and cooling systems upgraded before it moves into the old CIBC building.
As for the library, there are a series of renovations planned to the location once it can expand into the rest of the building.
Those renovations were planned under the advisory of the Annapolis Valley Regional Library board, drawing on its expertise on how to lay out and run a library.
“They have renovated and changed the direction and appearance of their libraries in several places, and they have provided us with a number of plans and ideas,” Pierce said. “We’ll be working closely with them on the final design for this building.”
McCleave noted the move and expansion are examples of Kingston’s ability to “look into the future.”
“As a community, we try to keep our downtown beautiful,” McCleave said. “Expanding the library is part of that, adding to our community.”