Commack Voters To Decide On $7.8M Library Uprade

By Andrew Wroblewski

A rendering depicts a proposed renovation to the Commack Public Library, which was first built in 1976.

A rendering depicts a proposed renovation to the Commack Public Library, which was first built in 1976.

A proposed $7.8 million bond for a renovation of the Commack Public Library is up for a vote today.

Laurie Rosenthal, 15-year director of the library, said a renovation to the nearly 40-year-old building has long been discussed by Commack’s board of trustees. Commack Public Library was first built in 1976 and was renovated once, “a very small expansion in 1996,” Rosenthal added.

In its current state, Rosenthal said, the outdated building is not compliant with Americans With Disabilities Act standards, contains outdated furniture and is congested due to inefficient spacing.

A large-scale renovation, which would be scheduled for fall 2016, would address these drawbacks, while including community-requested additions suggested during meeting over the last six months and through phone calls, emails and a suggestion box.

Highlights of the additions include “something for everybody,” Rosenthal said: a separate children’s reading and activities room, a dedicated senior citizens’ area, a large community room and meeting room space, quiet rooms, additional seating and reading space and more.

The building’s 22,550-square-foot floor plan of would remain unchanged.

If approved, the renovation would require an estimated one year’s time to complete. Rosenthal said, during construction library officials would seek to continue offering services, in part, by finding a temporary location to set up shop.

The proposed project would cost an estimated $8.3 million, but the library’s board would apply $450,000 from the library’s capital improvement fund. The estimated cost per average household would be about $90 per year, or $7.50 per month.

According to statistics provided by the library, Commack Public Library was visited 163,121 times in 2014. In that year, 149,536 materials were checked out and 26,267 people attended the library’s 956 programs.

“We try to be a community center,” Rosenthal, of Ronkonkoma, originally of Commack, said. “We’re hoping that our community comes out and casts their votes.”

Rosenthal added, we want to “offer the community a renovated that would allow us to offer new and expanded services. We want to become even more of a community center to our patrons in the Commack area.”

Polls at 18 Hauppauge Road will be open 9 a.m.-9 p.m.