Library renovations came within cost projections, planners say

Library renovations came within cost projections, planners say
The Great Neck Library's Main Branch underwent major renovations both interior and exterior. (Photo courtesy of KG+D Architects, PC and David Lamb Photography)

The renovations of Great Neck Library’s Main Branch came in at the projected $11.1 million cost, planners told the Main Building Committee on Monday night, despite a considerable number of change orders.

Russell Davidson, president of KG+D Architects, told committee members that taxpayers “really got good value” for the renovations.

The redesign also earned KG+D the American Institute of Architects Westchester Hudson Valley chapter’s High Honor Award, Davidson noted, for an “astounding transformation” of the library’s lighting and space.

“We feel like you got good value for all of it and ended up pretty much where you should have expected to end up,” Davidson said regarding the total cost.

There were 81 change orders involved in the renovations, Davidson said, which factored approximately $1.4 million into the $11.1 million cost. Most of the additional costs could be attributed to changes the library board wanted, like a repaved parking lot, new lighting and new curbing, Davidson said.

Another third, or approximately $488,000, could be attributed to changes desired by the Nassau County fire marshal, while “unforeseen circumstances” made up almost $300,000, he added.

“Overall, I would say that the amount you paid for unforeseen [circumstances] and things that weren’t specified was well below what you would see for a renovation of this type,” Davidson said.

Among some of the changes were opening up the space, adding insulated windows, creating a new children’s area and community room, new lighting and a new HVAC system.

Trustee Marietta DiCamillo, a member of the Main Building Committee who was also president of the Great Neck Library’s Board of Trustees when renovations began, expressed pride in how the Main Branch turned out.

“It was long in coming,” DiCamillo said, “but it’s a beautiful building and we get a lot of compliments on it.”

The Main Branch closed for interior and infrastructure renovations on Oct. 29, 2014, and the project was originally expected to be completed a year later, but many updates to the construction plans and a strike by Verizon employees pushed the library into re-opening in fall 2016 instead.

At the meeting, representatives from KG&D Architects also noted that there are some issues with the HVAC system, such as defective units from Addison HVAC, a Florida-based company, improper duct installation and issues with other affiliated parties.

But, Davidson said in a later interview that post-construction issues are relatively normal and that the firm hopes to resolve them in a month or so.

“We’re still working on some issues with it,” Davidson said, “but it’s coming along.”

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