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Saskatoon Public Library (SPL) says it is committed to being a leader in the realization of reconciliation with its new central downtown library, according to its request for proposals (RFP) released on Tuesday.

SPL also says it will elevate First Nations and Metis voices, language, culture and history.

“Reconciliation will be evident in the integration of local First Nation and Metis perspectives into the programs, services and collections available within the library walls,” reads the RFP, which is seeking a lead design and consultation team.

The tender said the prime design consultant will lead the delivery of the new central library and support demolition and remediation of the site.

“The new central library will happen with, not for, the community as a whole, from start to finish - leaving a legacy of reconciliation behind.”

The SPL’s new $134 million library is expected to open to the public at its new location at 321 Second Avenue North and 25th Street in 2026.

According to the tender, the new library will be three to four storeys high and include 136,000 square feet of space indoors and outdoors. It will accommodate up to 2,500 guests daily and between half a million to one million visits per year.

Among the new features in the design, the SPL expects to offer a 200-seat theatre, open-concept atrium and gathering spaces, as well as a cafe and retail kiosks.

The RFP also calls for a culinary centre for cooking demonstrations, tasting area and catering space.

The closing date for the RFP is Oct. 6. The SPL has established a project website intended to provide details related to the new central library at www.saskatooncentrallibrary.ca

In November 2019, Saskatoon City Council approved a request from the library to borrow $67.5 million, $20 million less than the $87.5 million the library originally requested.

The library is drawing $46.3 million from its capital reserves, $4.3 million in proceeds from the sale of the Frances Morrison Library and $15 million in gifts from the Saskatoon community.

It is set to open in 2026.