The much-anticipated construction of Saskatoon’s new downtown library has been unexpectedly postponed after project bids surpassed its $134 million budget.
The Saskatoon Public Library (SPL) disclosed in a recent news release that the bids submitted in late August significantly exceeded the allocated budget, leading to the cancellation of the construction tender.
Expressing disappointment, Library Board Chair, Jim Siemens acknowledged the setback but assured it was only a temporary derailment to the project’s progress. He revealed that during the period of 2021 to 2023, the project consistently adhered to its budget according to five independent cost estimates.
In light of the recent developments, there is a possibility that the design of the new library might undergo alterations to comply with the financial constraints. Siemens optimistically stated that the upcoming work would facilitate an understanding of the discrepancy between the cost predictions and the tendered bids, empowering them to confidently plan the path ahead.
The construction, which was originally scheduled to commence this fall, will not continue as planned. This delay implies that the potential inauguration date of the new library will be pushed into 2027.
The existing building which houses the Francis Morrison Central Library was sold in anticipation of transitioning to the new central branch. The new property owner is expected to take ownership in December 2026, prior to the opening of the new central branch. In response to this, SPS is formulating strategies to minimize the impact of this changeover on its services.
The funding for the planned library will derive from a combination of SPL’s own reserve funds, proceeds from the sale of land, generous donations, along with borrowing $67.5 million.