Mastic-Moriches-Shirley Community Library director Kerri Rosalia said remedial work is being...

Mastic-Moriches-Shirley Community Library director Kerri Rosalia said remedial work is being done at the library's main branch on William Floyd Parkway after structural problems were discovered during demolition. Credit: John Roca

Reconstruction of a Shirley library has been delayed after structural problems were discovered earlier this year during demolition of the existing building, officials told Newsday.

The reopening of the Mastics-Moriches-Shirley Community Library's main branch, which had been expected next year, will be pushed back at least six months to late 2023 or 2024, library director Kerri Rosalia said. Construction has stopped and will not resume until spring, she said.

The library, on William Floyd Parkway, was little more than exposed steel beams last week.

“It may look as if nothing is going on, but actually we are doing the remedial work,” Rosalia told Newsday. “It‘s going to look like that for the winter.”

Voters in December 2019 had approved a $22.6 million bond to rebuild the main branch and construct new branches in Mastic Beach and Moriches. Delays at the main branch won't affect the new branches, both of which are expected to open next year, Rosalia said.

Demolition during the summer revealed weak steel beam supports and elevator shafts too narrow to comply with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, Rosalia said. A Stony Brook consulting engineer, Thomas Mirabile, recommended building a new roof deck among other changes, she said. Mirabile's report is posted on the library's website.

Rosalia said many of the problems "were not visible to us" and likely stem from the building's construction in 1982 and improvements completed 13 years later. "They were behind a wall,” she said. 

The library has been operating in the Mastic Recreation Center since June due to unrelated supply chain issues that delayed delivery of equipment, library officials have said.

Raymond Keenan, president of the Manor Park Civic Association, said some of the structural problems seem “pretty typical of construction,” but he said library officials appeared not to anticipate the possibility of cost overruns.

“That kind of thing, they’re almost [always] accounted for in budgets,” said Keenan, who had voted in favor of the project. 

Rosalia said she could not estimate the total cost for additional construction. Steel will cost $343,000 and new concrete $253,000, but bids have not yet been requested for a new elevator, which was not part of the reconstruction plan, she said.

Additional costs will be covered by library capital reserve funds and grants, she said, adding voters will not be asked to approve a second referendum.

“The board [of directors] was very committed to staying within the original budget and not going back to the community. We’re going to have to be more aggressive looking for grants going forward," Rosalia said. “We’re still going to deliver the state-of-the-art library the community wanted to see. It’s just going to take a lot longer.” 

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