The dream of a bigger, better Ridgefield Community Library is here. After nearly a year of construction, Fort Vancouver Regional Libraries (FVRLibraries) recently announced the completion of their expanded library in downtown Ridgefield, with a Grand Opening Celebration planned for July 9.
To facilitate the reopening of the permanent home of Ridgefield Community Library, the library will close its temporary location at 228 Simons St., starting on June 3. Since last August, the temporary location has provided curbside pickup of materials and, beginning last month, limited in-person service inside. Both locations will remain closed until June 7, when curbside service will begin at the permanent location, 210 N. Main Ave., Ridgefield.
Thanks to support from the community and donors, FVRLibraries was able to expand the library from a small 2,300-square-foot space in the former Ridgefield Community Center to 8,000 square feet, encompassing the full footprint of the building. The new library combines elements of the previous building with new construction to create a beautiful new centerpiece to downtown Ridgefield. The expanded library features a large community meeting space; separate areas for teens, children, and adults; several study rooms; and additional computers and laptops for use in the library.
The new library was designed by Johansson Wing Architects of Battle Ground; the general contractor for the project was Union Corner Construction of Vancouver. The project was made possible thanks to generous donations from the Ridgefield Community Center Association, Community Foundation of Southwest Washington, the State of Washington and the Firstenburg Foundation, as well as support from Fort Vancouver Regional Library Foundation, Friends of Ridgefield Community Library and the City of Ridgefield.
“It’s amazing to watch so many individuals, businesses, and organizations from Ridgefield and beyond show their generosity and support for building a bigger, better library,” said Rick Smithrud, executive director of the Fort Vancouver Regional Library Foundation. “When a project like this comes along and strengthens the community and benefits future generations, everyone wants to be part of it.”
The project couldn’t have happened without the strong support from the Friends of the Ridgefield Community Library, who stepped up not only to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars but also raised public awareness for the new library.
“The Friends of the Ridgefield Community Library formed a special team that ran point on gathering political support, individual cornerstone donations and business buy-in for fundraisers,” said Jeanne Androvich, president of the friends group. “Five years of trying all types of fundraisers over 75 individuals and businesses that stepped up to donate over a $1,000 each and bringing in over $350,000 in community support. Our team is glad the effort paid off and we have a bigger and better Library.”
Grand Opening Celebration
The library’s Grand Opening Ceremony and Ribbon Cutting will be held in association with the Ridgefield Main Street Day happening in downtown Ridgefield on July 9 at 10:30 am. The library will also be hosting events and activities for children and families throughout the day. Limited in-person library service will begin then, as well as small group tours of the new library if COVID-19 regulations permit.
“Our Main Street Day event is all about celebrating downtown,” said Marykay Lamoureaux, executive director of Ridgefield Main Street. “The new library opening is just the beginning of growth and new energy in the area. It is an important anchor of what makes our downtown so special to us. It is a place people go to learn, connect and share and we are so proud it is spotlighted in the day’s celebration.”
Early discussion about the need for a larger Ridgefield Community Library began as part of a facilities study in 2013 and a pre-design study in 2014. At that time, FVRLibraries began setting aside funds for a new library location in Ridgefield and working with community stakeholders to identify a suitable site. At the same time, the Friends of the Ridgefield Community Library and Fort Vancouver Regional Library Foundation began fundraising efforts.
After exploring numerous options and opportunities to keep the library in Ridgefield’s downtown, the library district began negotiations – through the library foundation – with the Ridgefield Community Center Association in 2018 for the generous donation of their property, allowing the library to substantially remodel the space and expand services at that location.
Once the donation was finalized in 2019, FVRLibraries – alongside Johansson Wing Architects – provided several opportunities for community feedback in developing the library design. Remodeling and new construction started in August of 2020. During the construction, the library moved to the temporary site a few blocks away.
For more information about Ridgefield Community Library’s remodel, visit www.fvrl.org or call 360-906-5000.