Committee to recommend approval of revised Station plan to library board

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The Station branch library will be getting a makeover. (Photo courtesy of MDA designgroup)
The Station branch library will be getting a makeover. (Photo courtesy of MDA designgroup)

The branch committee of the Great Neck Library will recommend that the Board of Trustees approve a modified renovation plan for the Station branch library, members of the committee signaled on Wednesday and confirmed on Thursday.

The plan calls for transforming the leased 6,500-square-foot space above Best Market in Great Neck Plaza from one of faux stone, dark carpets and dark carpets into one featuring patterned blue and green carpeting with walls to match, more natural light, new furniture and decorative acoustic wall panels.

It would also include a dedicated children’s story area, a quiet space, open study area and a “maker space” which can serve “many hats,” according to Elisabeth Martin, a principal at MDA design group who created the plans.

Minor changes were also incorporated into the plan.

Some of these changes included adjusting the central desk, increasing the number of staff lockers, bringing out a closet so more “maker carts” can fit in the “maker space,” and adding small backs to proposed chairs in the children’s space.

“We have integrated all of the comments we have gotten to date,” Martin said.

Among some of the other changes proposed were using sliding glass dividers and potentially raising small shelving units up front, which are meant to showcase new materials, so people can more easily get items from the bottom shelf.

Robert Schaufeld, the chair of the branch committee and president of the Board of Trustees, said the committee will be recommending the plan for approval at the next board meeting on July 24 and plans to show design plans to the building’s landlord.

Schaufeld said it would then likely take two months to get construction drawings, which have to be approved by the building department of Great Neck Plaza, and around a month to solicit bids.

After that, the board must approve a contractor and have the finance committee go through proposals.

“I would say realistically, we will have a contract signed with a contractor by the end of the year, but the construction is more involved,” Schaufeld said, describing how they need to carefully coordinate hiring a contractor, ordering furniture and finishes, and delivery with the construction.

“I think there’s a good chance it will be completed before next summer is completed,” Schaufeld added.

The pending approval of the Station branch plans follows the Board of Trustees voting favorable on renovations for the Parkville branch library, which is owned by the Great Neck Union Free School District.

The Board of Education had granted its blessing for the project at their July 5 meeting, but it will have to be approved by the state education, a process which Schaufeld noted will likely result in it starting later than Station renovations.

“We’re going to coordinate the construction so that Parkville and Station will not be closed at the same time,” Schaufeld said, noting that there would be a number of “liability issues” if patrons were allowed into the library during that time.

“We’re very excited about both projects and we think it will add a lot to the community and the patrons should like what we do,” Schaufeld added. “And I anticipate that it will be worth the inconvenience at the end of the project.”

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