Great Neck library OKs temporary cooling

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The main branch of the Great Neck Public library will be closed Tuesday, July 5 while a rented cooling unit installed, said Library Trustee Anna Kaplan. 

Great Neck Library trustees voted Tuesday to rent the unit from June 30 through October 7 to temporarily replace the building’s 40-year-old air conditioner, which broke mid-June.

Trustees also resolved to have a brand new unit up and running by April 30, 2012.

“It’s been two weeks since the air conditioner broke,” said Great Neck Library Director Jane Marino. “Everyday it’s getting hotter. I’m trying to move this along.”

Trustees authorized an expenditure of up to $65,000 for the emergency rental, which will come from the $1.2 million building fund.

The rented unit costs about $8,374 per month, plus $5,640 for plumbing and $15,000 for electrical hookups.

Marino will present long-term solutions to trustees at the Sept. 15 board meeting.

The air conditioner previously failed in the summer of 2006. Trustee Marietta DiCamillo, who was on the board at the time, said they should have replaced the unit.

“I will not go through another situation like in 2006 when we should have done what is best for the community but did not,” she said. “The money is in the bank.”

A new air conditioner was planned as part of the library’s proposed $22.5 million main branch expansion, but trustees said the work could no longer wait.

The dilemma for trustees centers around the shape of the broken unit. It was manufactured in a now obsolete rectangular shape, while new units are square. If trustees purchase a new unit that fits the existing building, Marino said architects could plan the new building around it.

Trustee Josie Pizer wanted more research before committing to a permanent solution, and did not want to purchase an obsolete unit.

“You still have old pipes on that roof,” she said. “You might want a different configuration.”

Also broken is the main branch furnace, which might need to be replaced. Marino said the contractor could not promise it will last through the winter even if it is fixed.

“It is not good news at all, but not surprising since it was not taken care of,” she said.

Library board President Janet Eshaghoff said trustees might move up the date of the referendum on the library expansion. The project is intended to renovate and expand the main library by 8,645 square-feet with an additional wing on the east side of the building.

Trustees recently approved a referendum date of Nov. 15 for the library expansion, with a back up date of Nov. 22.

“We are possibly considering having the referendum moved into October,” she said.

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