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Century old Patchogue Carnegie library to be restored

The Carnagie Library in Patchogue is awaiting restoration.

The Carnagie Library in Patchogue is awaiting restoration. (Jan. 14, 2014) Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

The Patchogue board of trustees has transferred ownership of the once-grand, century-old Carnegie Library, which has been shuttered since 1998, to the Patchogue-Medford Library.

The unanimous decision Monday night allows Patchogue-Medford to restore the boarded-up vacant structure to its original state when it opened in 1908. The library, which was built with funds donated by industrialist Andrew Carnegie, will become a youth center with tutoring, research and after school programs, village officials said.

"It feels wonderful," Patchogue-Medford Library director Lauren Nichols said. "This will be a young adult space to learn and create, and it allows us to give back to the community."

Patchogue-Medford and the village will split the $125,000 cost to construct a larger basement as part of a renovation plan, village attorney Brian Egan said. Safety systems must be installed and the building made handicapped-accessible, officials have said. Nichols said renovations will be completed next year.

Patchogue-Medford estimated that running the new library could cost $70,000 annually, including the hiring of a security guard and cleaning personnel.

While the library has an operating budget of $8.4 million, it intends to solicit grants and donations to restore the building, but assured trustees they have the financial wherewithal to complete the task, officials said. No exact price tag for the restoration was provided, but officials said they don't believe it will be more than $1.5 million.

Nichols said that her organization must officially accept the transfer since the building falls under the jurisdiction of the state Department of Education.

"It's exciting to ultimately turn this over to Patchogue-Medford and preserve this landmark," village trustee Gerard Crean said.

Carnegie donated the funds to construct the neoclassical structure and it became a village landmark. It stopped being used as a library in 1980. Briarcliffe College then took it over, officials said, but the building has been vacant since 1998.

The structure was first moved in August of 2012 to make room for the construction of the $100 million New Patchogue Village. Last July it was moved again from behind the Suffolk County District Court building to the corner of West Main Street and West Avenue.

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