Future of MSA Centennial Library debated

A group is scheduled to appear before Abbotsford city council to discuss options for the old building, which will soon close

The Friends of the MSA Centennial Library are trying to save the old building.

The proposal is to turn the facility, located at 33660 South Fraser Way, into a community arts centre and cultural hub.

The old library will soon shut down, in favor of the public/school library being constructed as part of the new Abbotsford Senior Secondary school (formerly Abbotsford Collegiate).

“To re-purpose a building like the MSA Library does not happen very often,” said Ken Wuschke, spokesperson for the group.

“And to take a building that has been an essential part of Abbotsford’s cultural scene for the past 45 years and give it another purpose for the arts is an incredible opportunity.”

Built as a community project for the 1967 celebration of Canada’s Confederation, the MSA Library was a cutting edge project for its day.

Wuschke said in 1967 the public raised funds and community groups like Rotary, Kinsmen, and Lions worked together to complete the project.

“It is a building built by the people of Abbotsford for all to enjoy.”

The group was scheduled to make a presentation before council on Monday, inquiring about the future of the library, which the group worries will be demolished, although city hall has said it has no plans to do so.

“What heritage will surround us if we keep destroying Abbotsford’s iconic buildings like the MSA Centennial Library?” asked Dorothy van der Ree, executive director of the MSA Museum Society.

The group is working with the Abbotsford Arts Council to create a new arts centre.

The present facility, Kariton House, is 870 square feet, while the main floor of the MSA Library is 3,600 square feet – four times the space.