Ottawa launches bidding process for central library construction

New library
Exterior renderings of the Ottawa Public Library-Library and Archives Canada joint facility.

The City of Ottawa has launched the first phase of what’s expected to be a four-step procurement process for the construction of the new central library.

The $192.9-million project, which will house the main branch of the Ottawa Public Library and Library and Archives Canada, is expected to be completed in 2024. On Monday, the city said it was starting its request for qualification process aimed at pre-qualifying general contractors to construct the new facility at LeBreton Flats.

The next step in the procurement process will be a request for tender for early works such as shoring, excavation and site remediation, which is expected to be released in August. After that, the city will consult with the pre-qualified bidders and their partners in the third stage of the process, which is expected to occur in the fall of this year and the winter of 2021. 

Finally, the city will issue a request for tender in which pre-qualified bidders will be asked to provide a firm price tag for the building. That’s expected to happen next spring.

The city and federal government formally unveiled the design for the new facility in January. Ottawa’s KWC Architects and Toronto-based Diamond-Schmitt Architects, which was also behind the recently renovated National Arts Centre, are the lead architects on the project.

The planned designs feature wave-like layers as well as accents of limestone and wood. The building will be topped with a green roof and will include other features geared towards making the facility as sustainable as possible – Ottawa Centre MP Catherine McKenna said she’d like to see the library be a net-zero building, meaning it produces as much energy as it consumes.

The development itself will be 34 per cent larger in size than the library’s existing main branch at Laurier Avenue and Metcalfe Street. It will include amenities such as a ground-floor cafe and rooftop restaurant, a makerspace, recording studio and 60 meeting rooms – up from three at the current central branch.

Some 4,000 people in Ottawa and across Canada provided comments during public consultations that helped to shape the library's design.