Library moves ahead with renovation plan

Alyssa Hudson, a sixth-grader from Middle Island, joins

Alyssa Hudson, a sixth-grader from Middle Island, joins Jan Miller, left, and Carolyn Walsh, librarians in the Young Adult Services department at the Longwood Public Library in Middle Island. (March 14, 2012) (Credit: Daniel Brennan)

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A new chapter is opening for the Longwood Public Library in Middle Island.

After voters in October approved a $17.8 million bond for renovating the 25-year-old facility, the library is proceeding with plans to add about 15,000 square feet and upgrade the infrastructure. "They can't wait," library director Suzanne Johnson said of patrons' reaction to the renovation.

Voters approved the bond 698 to 394 on Oct. 9.


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Plans to renovate have been percolating since 2010. Last year, the library held two community meetings to invite public input on the design plans, Johnson said. The library board chose Sandpebble Builders of Southampton as construction managers and Peter Gisolfi Associates of Hastings-on-Hudson as the architects.

This past summer, library representatives presented the plans at 18 civic meetings.

The renovation was prompted by the library's popularity, Johnson said. Last year, more than 350,000 people visited the library and borrowed nearly 800,000 items, while more than 50,000 people utilized programs there.

And the recovering national economy means interest rates are low and keep renovation costs down, Johnson said. "The economy made it more feasible," she said.

In about a year, the library will relocate to a temporary location nearby -- where materials will be available, and "we're going to try to accommodate as many programs as we can," Johnson said.

While adding space was the priority, the renovation will also update roofing, the heating and cooling systems and insulation. Construction is expected to take about 18 months, with the reopening scheduled for spring 2015.

The expansion is long overdue, library board vice president Kathrine Soscia said. "We've needed a larger library for some time," she said. "It's going to be a library the community can be proud of and that they deserve."

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