Written by Wendy Kreitzman Wednesday, 06 November 2013 00:00
As the Nov. 19 date for voting for the Great Neck Library (main building) renovation referendum approaches, library board officers, building committee members and involved members of the public have “taken the show on the road,” presenting the layout of the renovated building and the rationale for certain changes to various community groups. On Wednesday evening, Oct. 30, a presentation was heard by local officials at the Great Neck Village Officials Association meeting.
Explaining the plans and the financials were Library Board President Marietta DiCamillo, trustees Josie Pizer and Varda Solomon, Assistant Library Director Chris Johnson, Circulation Director Janet Fine, and building advisory committee members Amy Levinson and Marianna Wohlgemuth.
This proposal is for a $10.4 million project, which follows many long years of debates, input from several different library boards and one much higher proposal, from a different board, for $20.9 million which failed to win public approval two-and-a-half years ago.
First emphasizing the newer, lower budget, the library representatives noted that this project is a “renovation” and does not expand the building’s current footprint. And by consolidating certain materials, more public space will be created, an extra 1200 square feet. The exterior of the building will “have the same look,” with the stone and glass facade. The doors will open automatically. And the façade will be cleaned and repointed.
However, one change, also not altering the footprint, will be a new entrance, and the upstairs space will be expanded. The community room will be slightly larger.
The upstairs mezzanine will house library offices, no longer to be scattered throughout the building. And it will also house a reading room space overlooking the pond. Public spaces will fully maximize the setting.
The lower level will hold the children’s area, which will be doubled in space and, that too, no longer scattered throughout the library. The children’s library will have its own check-out and child scaled bathrooms, with multipurpose rooms nearby for special programs and projects.
Three multi-purpose rooms will be situated downstairs, and Levels will have its same space. Levels space has not increased, but it is being redesigned so that youngsters with handicaps will be able to fully participate.
Also, some newly configured space will be available for use at times when the library is closed. And, of course, upon completion, the entire library will be ADA compliant.
Half of the work (funds) will include necessary work such as the roof, windows, the boiler and the air-conditioning ducts. This work will serve to make the building more cost efficient to run.
The library representatives emphasized that this library opened in 1970, “as a house of books.” But with today’s new technology and so many changes, less room is necessary for old, out-dated materials. More items can now fit in smaller spaces. For example, the a/v department is one of the busiest departments in the library, but now, CDs are checked out and they require much less space to store.
The library will be “brought up to the 21st century.” Today, the group said, “We are thinking flexible.”
And they are thinking “green” too, with up-to-date windows, restrooms, lighting and insulation, as well as asbestos removal.
Additionally, the library will also have a generator, one that will keep the network up and running, but will not run the entire main building.
With the approval for the renovation and the necessary funding (bonding), the renovation would start in a year and the project would take no longer than a year. However, during that time the main library would be closed and the branches would take on any extra burdens. Excellent library service for the entire community is promised during this period of time.