Written by Carol Frank Friday, 05 March 2010 00:00
At a special meeting of the library board on Wednesday of last week, the board voted unanimously to engage the architectural firm of Zakary Hagemann Associates of Oyster Bay to design the build-out for an enlarged Station Branch for a fee not to exceed $21,000. After much discussion, they decided to take this course before voting to approve a new lease for the proposed larger space on the second floor of the Gardens of Great Neck shopping center.
On the day before, the Branch committee had interviewed a number of Long Island architectural firms and had recommended Zakary Hagemann Associates to the entire board. Board president Andrew Greene said that although all the firms interviewed were impressive, it was the consensus of the committee that this particular firm’s portfolio demonstrated a level of excellence the committee was seeking.
Although the executive director, Jane Marino, and trustee Anna Kaplan had walked through the proposed Station interior with some general contractors who felt the space could be renovated at $45 to $50 a square foot for a total of approximately $300,000, the board decided it would be more prudent to have design plans in hand before proceeding. Mr. Greene said, “We want to make sure that we avoid having any kind of miscalculation of costs before signing a contract on a new space.” Ms. Marino said that she has made it clear to both architects and general contractors that the board is looking for a “lean and mean” renovation.
Currently, the yearly operating budget for Station is $494,400; it is projected that in the new space, the operating budget would be $637,235. It has been the contention of branch committee members that the enlarged space would actually cost less per square foot than the amount being paid currently in the smaller space and that it is an offer by the landlord that is hard to turn down.
An enlarged and renovated space at Station would mean that it could serve overflow needs of the community during a renovation at Main and preclude obtaining another site. The only program that could not be contained there would be the Levels program for teens, which would need a dedicated site of its own to continue to function during a renovation at Main.
Ms. Marino also reported that the landlord has agreed to upgrade all the railings to ensure that they would be safer by installing Plexiglas panels to the existing railings and rises.
During the month of March, the board will be reviewing and refining the proposed budget for 2011.