Deschutes Public Library Takes Next Steps in Purchasing Property for Site of New Library in Southeast Bend
As Deschutes Public Library comes to the close of its 90-day due diligence period on property in southeast Bend, the Library Board voted on Wednesday to move forward with a Purchase Sales Agreement (PSA) on the 9.37 acre parcel. The land, located at the northeast corner of 27th Street and Wilderness Way in Bend, is the intended site for an approximately 100,000-square-foot library, which was part of a $195 million bond issue approved by voters in November 2020.
The extensive search for suitable property included reviewing more than 40 sites that ranged from five to 15 acres, including the proposed Central District in Bend.
“While we had the chance to review multiple possibilities, this piece of property was the one that checked the most boxes in our search,” said Ann Malkin, Library Board President. “It provides ease of access off of 27th in a growing part of Bend and will help facilitate faster distribution of library materials throughout Deschutes County.”
The parcel of land is part of the Stevens Ranch development, formerly owned by the State of Oregon. More than 1,400 new housing units, as well as parks and schools, are planned in the surrounding area. The property is adjacent to 10-foot-wide biking and pedestrian paths that will serve east Bend and connect into the Deschutes River Trail.
The due diligence period allowed the Library District to ensure the suitability of the property; the zoning of the site allows construction of a library as an outright use. The architectural firm designing the building for the Stevens Ranch library is Miller Hull, and the contractor is Kirby Nagelhout Construction Company.
Library Director Todd Dunkelberg says the library anticipates breaking ground in summer 2023, and completing construction in 2025.
“Central Oregon has grown exponentially since our last library was built more than 20 years ago,” Dunkelberg said. “We are committed to carrying out the will of Deschutes County voters to create a new library that allows us to increase our collection, adds much-needed public meeting and gathering spaces, and ensures our ability to move items to our other libraries throughout the county quickly and efficiently.”
In November 2020, Deschutes County voters supported the Library’s bond measure to expand and improve libraries across the county. In addition to a new library, bond funds will also pay for building a new Redmond Library—double the size of the current Redmond Library—as well as updating other libraries. The current Redmond Library will close in January 2023 to allow for construction of a new library on the existing site; it is scheduled to be complete in mid-2024. The La Pine and Sisters Libraries will also close in January 2023 for remodeling and updating; both libraries will re-open in fall 2023. The Downtown Bend and Sunriver Libraries will also be renovated following the completion of the other projects. Temporary locations will be provided while existing libraries are closed for construction or remodeling.