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Longwood Library expansion eyes going green

Plans are under way for the expansion of

Plans are under way for the expansion of the Longwood Public Library on Middle Country Road in Middle Island. (Feb. 2, 2011) Photo Credit: Erin Geismar

The Longwood Public Library is taking the first steps toward a major expansion more than a year after it purchased 3 acres of adjacent land.

Library director Suzanne Johnson said the library's board of trustees and staff haven't set out specific goals for the land, except that they are in “dire need” of more space for patrons, storage and special events like Sunday concerts.

Johnson said the library has about 26,000 active cardholders and nearly twice as many use the library on a nonregular basis. In libraries around Long Island with similar patronage, she said the buildings are twice as large as Longwood's 31,000-square-foot facility.

She said because the library owns so much open land, there is also the possibility of a park or bike trails on some of the space.

Sandpebble Builders, the Southampton-based company overseeing the project, last week invited a sustainable building consultant from Pennsylvania to hold an information session about "green" building practices. Sandpebble owner Victor Canseco said about 40 people attended the session, despite the bad weather.

Canseco said the next step, and the key to the process for Sandpebble, is to hold a charrette, which he said is similar to a work session or focus group but differs in that the stakeholders involved lay out their ideas, and a concept for the project is born from that meeting.

Canseco said the stakeholders for the library will likely include staff, patrons, board members, civic leaders and town officials.

“The difference is that when you come to a work session there are plans, drawings, renderings,” he said. “All that stuff is done and all the public can do is react to it. In a charrette, the purpose is to come up with the goals.”

After the goal-setting charrette will be a design charrette, he said, so the stakeholders will have just as much say in the actual design of the building.

“This is a different approach,” Johnson said. “It brings everyone in the community to the table.”

Some innovations that can be expected though, Conseco said, are green lighting practices that rely on natural light and the use of carbon-dioxide sensors that would help the right amount of oxygen to be pumped into a room based on the number of people in it.

Johnson said the library is hoping to schedule the first charrette for May.

“We don’t profess anything,” Canseco said. “I have no goals for this project. For us, the key word is collaboration."

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