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Sag Harbor library gets new grant for construction

A file photo of construction at John Jermain

A file photo of construction at John Jermain Public Library. (Dec. 8, 2011) Credit: Randee Daddona

The race between rising construction costs and new fundraising for the John Jermain public library has gotten a little closer, with the Sag Harbor library getting its third New York State library construction grant in three years.

“We’re really excited,” library director Cathy Creedon said. “We’ve raised over $500,000 in grants, and almost $2.5 million in total fundraising."

The community approved a $12.5 million expansion and renovation of the library in 2009, and the library board of directors pledged to raise $2 million to help cover the costs. But while they raised more than originally promised, the cost of the project has also gone up, as workers discovered more problems as they worked on the century-old building.

Now the project cost is estimated at $13.5 million, and the library board is looking to raise an additional $1 million.

They were helped when Assemb. Fred W. Thiele Jr. (I-Sag Harbor) came to the library yesterday to announce a new $227,041 New York State library construction grant. The library got a $137,667 grant in 2011 and $157,023 in 2012.

Thiele said that library grants must be applied for every year, and that the board was surprised when he first told them about the new money last week. “They’re doing some additional work on the dome. They contemplate being finished by spring,” Thiele added.

The library broke ground last month on a 7,000-square-foot glass and limestone addition, to be built behind the existing 7,400-square-foot building. While on a high slope and taller than the original building, it is designed to reflect the original building and visually fade into the background, showing it off rather than overwhelming it.

Built in 1910 by Sag Harbor benefactor Olivia Sage in memory of her grandfather, Maj. John Jermain, who served in the Revolutionary War, the original 50-by-50 foot brick structure cost $70,000 to build. A winding marble staircase leads to its stained-glass dome.

Since construction began, the library has been operating from a temporary location at 34 W. Water St.

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