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Oct 25, 2016 10:08 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Westhampton Free Library Taps Architect To Oversee Second Floor Renovations

Part of the room that needs to be renovated at the Westhampton Free Library. BY ERIN MCKINLEY
Oct 25, 2016 3:40 PM

Plans to renovate part of the second floor of the Westhampton Free Library are moving forward, with officials hiring an engineering firm to design the project.

The proposal calls for finishing roughly 2,750 square feet of storage space next to the library’s children’s room, an area commonly referred to as “the attic,” that, due to financial constraints, could not be completed when the facility opened its doors in 2010. On October 19, the board agreed to retain H2M Engineering, a Melville company, to complete plans for the second floor for an estimated total cost of $185,170.

According to Westhampton Free Library Board President Thomas Moore, the library will use a $1.3 million donation bequeathed to the facility in 2014 by Ann Skovek to finish the attic. The work calls for the installation of a new floor and ceiling, as well as a heating system.

Currently, library officials are considering two options for the space, though they want to hear from the public before making a final decision. Both plans call for the creation of a new meeting room, and the relocation of other areas, including the young adult and children’s sections.

Under the first proposal, a 827-square-foot meeting room capable of accommodating up to 42 people would be built, requiring the creation of a new hallway that would run from the room to the elevator. The second plan calls for a smaller meeting room—about half the size of the one pitched under the first proposal and capable of holding up to 25 people at once—and it would be built in space now occupied by the library’s craft room. The craft room, in turn, would be relocated to the larger storage space on the second floor.

Current projections put the project at $950,000, Mr. Moore said, though he noted that the price tag could fluctuate based on the input that his board receives from the public during upcoming charrettes that have not yet been scheduled.

“This project is the completion of the original construction, as updated to reflect the experiences of the board, staff and patrons over the past six years,” Mr. Moore said in an email this week. “It is expected to result in a tangible benefit we all will enjoy for many years as provided by the generous bequest of Ann Skovek.”

The attic space was left unfinished during the construction of the $7.8 million, 14,250-square-foot library because officials did not have enough money at the time to purchase additional Pine Barren credits—a system that allows more intense development through the transferring of development rights from other preserved properties. Instead, they opted to close off the space to the public and use it for the storage of library materials, such as books and holiday decorations.

Last year, the Suffolk County Legislature changed the laws pertaining to Pine Barren credits, allowing libraries and fire districts to receive them from properties preserved by Suffolk County for free. Under the program, the library was given the quarter-credit that it was short to finish the attic space. Pine Barrens credits typically cost between $80,000 and $100,000 each.

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Tom Moore- sorry- but what a joke. You forgot to tell the Press about the hundreds of thousands of dollars of tax payer money you are also spending on the new HVAC system, buying a parking lot, redesigning the 1st floor. Like I said before between the husband and wife team of Moore (Tom) and Moore (Maria) they will be spending lots of taxpayer money without full disclosure. Plus- isn't it interesting the Moores (Tom and Maria) are hiring the same firm to do the design on both the Village and Library? ...more
By realistic (472), westhampton on Oct 27, 16 7:58 PM
1 member liked this comment
More $$ from an unaccountable library board.

I hear there will be a celebration of 120 years in the spring. Who celebrates 120 years? An excuse to spend more money and then complain how they don't have money for their non-management staff.

By SamFreeman (4), Westhampton on Nov 6, 16 8:26 PM