Long-awaited renovations to Great Neck Library’s Station Branch will start on Tuesday, the library said.
Saturday, May 29 will be the last day the 6,500-square-foot branch is open to the public before the renovation, which is expected to take about four to five months to complete, officials said.
The project will focus on maximizing the amount of open space for patrons, preserving “quiet places” and providing communal collaboration spaces, according to a report by MDA Design Group, with which the library signed an agreement for the renovation in 2017.
The renovation is also expected to double the amount of seating in the children’s section and enhance access to more “high-end” technology, including making every seat accessible to Wi-Fi.
Pamela Marksheid, the Village of Great Neck Plaza’s deputy mayor, expressed concerns that some of the library’s books would be discarded during the renovation, noting that many books were discarded in the storage phase of the Great Neck Main Library’s renovation.
“They figured that things were going to be digital, and that’s the way to go,” Marksheid said.
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But Elizabeth Martin, an architect with MDA Design Group, said the library instructed her “to make sure that there was enough shelving in this renovation to house the entire collection.”
Board President Weihua Yan added that the library directors and staff are looking to add more shelving and space to accommodate the expansion of the library collection.
Library officials in April awarded a construction contract worth up to $458,000 to Jobco Inc. to renovate the Station Branch at 26 Great Neck Road.
In addition to the contract, the library board approved resolutions to renew the lease on the building, move and store library materials, procure and install furniture, and obtain shelving for the books during its April 8 meeting.
“I consider the lease the linchpin of this project because obviously if we could not get good terms from the landlord it would be unwise to spend the amount of money we are going to spend,” George Trepp, the interim library director, said.
The lease agreement calls for a term of 15 years. The initial year of the lease will be the base year followed by a 1% rent increase in years two through six and a 2% increase in years seven through 15. Also, the landlord, Kabro Brothers, will grant a rent credit of $175,000 over a five-year period that will be directed toward funding the upgrade project.
Contracts were awarded to WGB for moving and storage in the amount of $51,850 and for shelving in the amount of $48,963.
Furniture procurement and installation will be provided by Inside Source for $101,768. All expenses will be charged to the library branch and Special Services Fund.
A discussion arose about the board’s April meeting regarding an issue that came to light only recently: the renovation of the restrooms and the problem of poor water pressure in the building.
The original plan called for the renovation of only one of the two restrooms, Trepp said. However, after determining that both restrooms were in very poor condition, Trepp said library officials are considering removing $32,000 from the contract pending renegotiation of that part of the project.
Martin said engineers will be consulted to analyze the water pressure problem. Marksheid added that issues involving water coming into the building should be the responsibility of the landlord.
Additional reporting contributed by John Nugent