Fire safety concerns delay opening of Great Neck Library’s Main Branch

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The reopening of the Great Neck Library’s Main Branch building will again be delayed after Nassau County fire marshals requested the installation of 15 additional sprinkler heads and water deflecting barriers between the bookshelves under the library’s mezzanine

On June 1, county fire marshals inspected the building and found that it needed extra protection from potential fires, delaying the approval for a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy, or TCO.

“It’s not uncommon as a result of the inspection process for inspectors to require additional fire safety measures — even though building plans were reviewed and approved by the Fire Marshal prior to permits being issued,” Great Neck Library Board President Marietta DiCamillo said. “We are moving at lightning speed with our construction team providing viable solutions so we get our TCO as soon as possible and begin the process of moving back in; something all of us want badly.”

The Main Branch closed for renovations to the building’s interior and infrastructure on Oct. 29, 2014.

The project was expected to be completed in about a year from the closing date, but a strike by construction workers and several updated construction plans pushed the opening date to May 31 this year.

Great Neck Library officials announced in April the building’s re-opening would be delayed by at least 30 days because of an issue with Verizon’s installation of working telephone lines.

Library officials said they were able to hire outside vendors to install working telephone and computer lines by the end of May, but with the fire marshal’s determination that the building needed additional sprinkler systems, its reopening was further delayed.

Great Neck Library Director Kathy Giotsas said there was no timetable for a new reopening date because the additional fire safety measures would need to be installed before they can request another inspection from the county.

Giotsas said the TCO was necessary for the library to reinstall computers and communication devices into the building, which are currently sitting in a temporary trailer.

The TCO is also required to move shelving and furniture, she said, so construction company VRD could complete interior work to the building.

“Obviously, we would like our TCO now and are disappointed with the results of the building inspection,” Giotsas said. “We are confident that after these changes are made, we’ll be able to receive a TCO.”

Library trustees unanimously approved design plans for the renovation of the Main Branch for work on the interior of the building, which includes renovations to the library’s reading rooms, office spaces, bathrooms, community rooms and other areas.

Renovations of the Main Branch also included a new roof, insulated windows, a revamp of the building’s HVAC system and new lighting.

Residents of the Great Neck Library system approved the bond in a November 2013 referendum.

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