Great Neck Library officials expressed concern about the potential costs of the Station Branch renovation at a committee meeting Tuesday night. They said the project may be scaled back but more information is needed.
Great Neck Library Director Denise Corcoran said that the library is working with the landlord, but that library officials are waiting to hear what would be needed when it comes to mechanical, electrical and plumbing issues. So, for the moment, construction drawings are on hold.
“I don’t have more information about what the process is going to look like,” Corcoran said. “I am concerned though about what the cost is going to be at this point because if it’s up to the landlord’s discretion, I do not want to be hit with these large bills that we have no control over approving or not and just have to pay.”
“So I think we have to be careful moving forward with this,” Corcoran added.
Currently, the plans call for turning the leased 6,500-square-foot space above Best Market in Great Neck Plaza into a space with more natural light and new furniture, as well as a “maker space,” open study area and dedicated children’s story area.
The Great Neck Library is also hoping to renovate the 5,250-square-foot Parkville Branch, a school district-owned property located at 10 Campbell St. in New Hyde Park, and spruce up the Lakeville Branch with new furniture and paint.
Trustee Josie Pizer also expressed concern about what could happen with the Station Branch and said that if these problems come to fruition, she would like to think “about a much, much smaller project for Station.”
“I would like for all of us here to be prepared for a change in what’s going to happen at Station,” Pizer said.
Robert Schaufeld, president of the Great Neck Library Board, said he believes it’s “premature to consider that” before knowing what costs are involved.
Corcoran said the first thing that needs to be done is to find out whether the work can be done in house or if it has to go through the landlord and subcontractors, since systems in the building are tied together.
There is also the possibility that a large number of change orders “could put us out of our budget for what needs to be done,” Corcoran noted.
“A lot more information is needed on this project,” she said.
Pizer asked about how much time remains on the lease. Corcoran said it expires on June 30, 2025.
Pizer then said the library may want to consider other options.
“We have seven years and maybe then in the next four years or so, we should start looking around at other properties, because this doesn’t meet our needs,” Pizer said. “I know lots of people complained about the parking lot and the elevator is often out, which we have no control over.”
Corcoran said she believes “that’s a good plan,” considering the drawn out process for the renovation.
“Looking at the timeline where this is going, there’s still a lot more that has to happen before we can even go out to bid and that process,” Corcoran said. “For seven years left on the lease … Is it worth it for us for that investment? That’s a decision you all have to make.”