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TNH Awards Contracts For New Cassel Community Center

Innovative ‘Green’ Building Slated To Open in May 2012

The Town of North Hempstead recently announced that Melville-based Racanelli Construction Company, Inc., along with The LiRo Group of Syosset, will be the general contractor and construction manager, respectively, for the $20 million environmentally friendly New Cassel community center.  

The unique building, which upon completion in May of 2012, will measure 60,000 square feet and feature two above grade levels and a partially utilized basement space. The building will also be one of the first LEED-Certified Platinum-rated community centers in the nation.

Racanelli Project Manager Ron Whelan explained that a LEED-Certified Platinum rating is the highest obtainable status according to U.S. Green Building Council standards. The center, set at 141 Garden St. in Westbury, will promote optimum energy-efficiency, sustainability and reduced carbon footprint.

“It’s pretty much the way of the future—what’s happening right now. It is basically re-using recycled materials, so to speak, and putting it back into the environment,” said Whelan, who noted that one benefit of the project is that the cost of maintaining the building will be reduced in the long run.

According to Whelan, the New Cassel community has been banking on a youth center for over 20 years – and he anticipates it’ll be well worth the wait.

“From what I understand speaking with the local people, they’re very excited about it and they’re looking forward to completion in 2012, and it’s going to have a lot of amenities,” he added.

The list of amenities is extensive: a gymnasium/auditorium with two regulation-sized basketball courts, a performance stage, fitness center, dance studio, a computer lounge, computer training center, teen space, senior center, snack canteen, reading room, multipurpose community rooms, kitchen, emergency center, public access television studio and administrative space.

As for the LEED-Certified Platinum rating, the center will be heated and cooled by a geothermal closed-loop system and have a south-facing solar wall for hot water heat and light wells for optional daytime sub-grade illumination.

Also reflecting its “green” status will be photovoltaic (solar) panels mounted atop a tress, which will form a canopy above the parking on the south side of the site. Additional panels will be rooftop mounts.

A Greywater system, which instead of pulling fresh water from municipal mains, will provide for secondary reuse onsite, and rooftop rainwater will be collected for onsite irrigation of the community center’s garden space. Parking stalls will provide electric vehicle recharging stations, and external on-site lighting will be noninvasive. Appliances to be used in the center will be Energy Star equipment.

Helping to meet capital costs for the project is a $892,000 North Hempstead grant award, which U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand secured through the Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. In addition, Assemblyman Charles Lavine and State Senator Craig Johnson each secured two grants of $200,000 for the project.

“We’re set for May 12, 2012 for the grand opening, as long as the weather stays like this, we’re good to go,” said Whelan.

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