Why do we need a new Library?

Parking, Programs and Peace!  The community’s main concern regarding the current library is inadequate, convoluted and unsafe parking conditions.  The existing parking is scarce and difficult to navigate.  Remaining at the current site will never allow us to increase parking from the current 37 spaces to the approximately 190 spaces adjacent to the new library, with clear, unobstructed access to entrances and exits.

Community groups currently wait months for Library meeting rooms to become available and Library programs are full to capacity due to the lack of space in our undersized building.  In addition to providing more meeting room space, the new Library will feature an outdoor performance space (small community amphitheater) which will stage live performance programs, including kids concerts, movie screenings, and special events for residents of all ages.

Students have no “quiet” study spaces; teens do not have enough room to gather for safe afterschool activities; seniors do not have a dedicated space; computer areas are crowded and limited, and climate controls for heating, cooling and lighting the building are inadequate to meet the needs of patrons.  The new building is designed to provide comfortable dedicated spaces for kids and families, teens, adults, seniors, and community events as well as plentiful “quiet” space for undisturbed reading and study.

Why do we need a new Library NOW? 

A remarkable set of circumstances have coincided to make now the optimal time to act so that the current and future library needs of the community are met.

While researching the most cost-effective way to repair and update the current Library building, material containing asbestos from an old roof was discovered in the area above the ceiling grid on the main floor, business office, and the large meeting room.

While this asbestos was determined to be of the non-friable type, and therefore not an immediate risk, the asbestos will need to be removed at some point necessitating a suspension of library services on the main floor during the removal process.

The abatement project, which is required by New York State environmental authorities, as well as other needed repairs and modifications would come at a significant cost to the community in addition to causing prolonged library service interruptions.

At the same time, the Town of Brookhaven presented the Library with an incredible and unique opportunity to build the new Library on five acres of land at absolutely no cost to taxpayers.  Simply put, our community now has the opportunity to build a new, larger Library on “free” land.

Why can’t the Library remain at the current location?

The current site can no longer adequately meet the community’s needs.  In addition to maximum use of the library building space, we currently serve residents five nights a week in classroom space at William Floyd High School and at off-site locations throughout the Tri-Hamlet area.  The current building is not able to provide the needed program and meeting space.

The parking is unsafe and inadequate; there is not enough meeting room space; there are no safe usable outdoor spaces for kids; and the antiquated and decades’ old infrastructure of the current building cannot sustain the demands of new technology, telecommunications and computer labs.

Since the Library doesn’t own any of the surrounding land, we are unable to expand beyond the footprint we currently utilize.  The current building as constructed, would not allow for expansion.

Why not buy the former Bowling Alley? 

When the Library Board learned that the bowling alley property across the street from the Library was for sale, they took immediate action to determine if the property would be appropriate for a new Library.

In addition to the cost of the property (3-4 Million Dollars), the existing bowling alley building would have to be demolished at a cost of approximately $400,000 dollars. The building as constructed cannot sustain a second story. Also, the site would not allow for any outdoor programs or green space. Then a new Library would need to be constructed on the site. The cost of construction at the site of the current bowling alley would be the same as the cost of construction at the proposed site, $721.00 per square foot.

In contrast, the property for the new Library is free of charge; the site is vacant, so there will not be any demolition costs incurred and the new building can be built to the specific needs of a 21st century library; the five acre site provides adequate space for outdoor activities and a beautiful green space and greatly improved parking (190+ spots).

How did the community participate in the planning process?

The Board of Trustees actively sought extensive feedback from community members concerning possible renovations to the existing facility, as well as building a new Library.  The Library held a series of important public visioning workshops in which residents and staff spent three full days, totaling twenty-one hours, collaborating to develop priorities for the project.  The final workshop, which was held on March 21, 2015, was the culmination of previous workshop outcomes, which resulted in a proposed framework for the project.  For more detailed information check out the project history.

In addition to the formal workshop process, the Board, Administration, and Library staff are constantly listening and communicating with residents to determine priorities for providing the community with a Library which will serve as the center for community collaboration, professional development, and personal growth for years to come.

What size and where will the new Library be located?

Located on the former “Links at Shirley” golf course, the new approximately 50,000 square foot Library, will be nestled in a beautiful woodland setting less than a mile from our current location, easily accessed via William Floyd Parkway and Mastic Road.  The new Library will be within walking distance of William Floyd High School and the adjacent middle and elementary schools.  The design will maximize new usable space, providing sufficient room to meet the needs of our active and diverse community.

What will the new Library offer? 

The new Library will be a beautiful, sunlight-filled building set in a quiet, natural parkland featuring:  Approximately 190 parking spaces; a secure and safe setting away from congested high-traffic retail areas; state-of-the-art technology for users of all ages; comfortable cooling/heating, lighting, and seating; a full stage outdoor  performance area (small community amphitheater) with seating for 200-300 people for performances and large community events; quiet rooms for individual and group study; plentiful ADA compliant restrooms throughout the building; energy efficient and cost-saving utility systems; access to nature for education, recreation, relaxation and health benefits; an outdoor Nature Explorium for kids, and so much more.

How will the new Library be paid for?

The land, one of the largest expenses for any proposed new library will be provided by the Town of Brookhaven in the form of a one-hundred plus year lease at no cost.  Additional funds will come from selling the existing library building; pursuing numerous fundraising initiatives; applying for various government aids and grants; support from the Library Foundation to secure donations, and most important, from the proposed bond referendum vote.

How much will the new Library cost?

Residents are being asked to invest in a 33.5 million dollar 30 year bond, which will, for the average homeowner, (based on a $2,500 assessed valuation), result in an estimated 12 dollars per month; or an estimated 144 dollars per year.

Is there anything special for kids? 

In addition to a dedicated space for books and materials, more program space; quiet and group study spaces; and new computers, kids will be able to enjoy “the great outdoors” by participating in wonderful new outdoor story time programs; craft and gardening programs, exercise programs and very special carnivals.  Kids will also be able to enjoy concerts and live performances in a spectacular new 200-300 seat outdoor performance space.  An exciting new Nature Explorium, will provide kids the opportunity to discover the natural world in new and wonderful ways.

What is the cost of the outdoor performance space?

An outdoor performance space (a small community amphitheater) with seating for 250 would cost approximately $175,000.

What is a Nature Explorium?

 A Nature Explorium is a dynamic, nature-based outdoor space developed by research-based, field-tested design principles that support kid’s learning and social/emotional development in all domains.

Designed to meet kid’s individual learning styles, interests and strengths, Nature Explorium spaces help children grow into their best selves. In these intentionally designed, nature-rich spaces, kids improve math and science learning, cultivate art and music interests, and foster initiative, cooperation, and creativity.

A Nature Explorium does much more than enhance the physical environment; it allows kids to explore and develop a connection to the natural world through engaging in open-ended play.

Want to see one in person? Visit the Middle Country Public Library’s Explorium in-person at 101 Eastwood Blvd, Centereach, NY 11720, or online at www.natureexplorium.org.

How will the new building actually save money? 

The new energy efficient building will offer extensive and long-term cost saving in annual utility and maintenance fees.  The current building uses about 95,000 BTU per square foot or a total of 4,275,000 BTU’s per year.  The new, larger building will use less than 25,000 BTU’s per square foot for a total of approximately 1,500,000 BTU’s.  So even though the new building will be larger, it will use approximately 65 percent less energy than the current building!  The design will seek to gain Platinum LEED certification – maximizing natural daylight instead of artificial light, incorporating solar power, and geothermal energy for heating and cooling.  To the extent possible, the existing landscape will be restored to its natural beauty and any additional plant material will be native to the area, and as such require no fertilizer or irrigation.

What will I get for my money? 

A Library which is large, secure and adequate to meet the needs of our community’s 56,000 residents for years to come; expansive meeting room space, including a beautiful new outdoor performance space (small community amphitheater) to meet all of our extensive programming uses; beautiful outdoor spaces including a new nature explorium for kids; ample, clean, and ADA compliant restrooms; plentiful quiet spaces; additional computers and state-of-the-art technology to access online information for education, recreation and personal growth including expanded “Job readiness” resources including free online classes to retool/retrain for the future.

In addition, your new Library will serve as a source of pride for the entire community, set in a location that will truly reflect the area’s history, community values, and connection to nature which serve as the hallmark of this project.

How were neighboring libraries able to renovate/expand their libraries at a lower cost that our project proposes?

The Center Moriches Library added a 4,671-square-foot addition was along the front/south elevation. A separate, 1,671-square-foot children’s activity room was added to the back/north side of the existing library, and a new sprinkler system was added, for a total of 6,342 additional square feet. The Library owned the land around the building thus was able to add the addition without land acquisition costs or consideration of moving the facility.

The existing library was not renovated. Construction began in 2012 and was paid for with Library reserves. Since that time we have to factor in 5% cost escalation each year to their costs to bring their project costs current.

Longwood Library owned enough land to support an expansion project. So there were no land acquisition costs and they did not have to contemplate moving the facility. The vote was held in 2012. Since that time we have to factor in 5% cost escalation each year to their costs.

Longwood built 15,000 sq. ft. of new space and renovated the existing building. The total bond was $17,896,347 which included site work, furniture, fixtures and equipment, professional fees and more. Homes assessed in the Longwood School District at $2,500 were projected to have a $65.00 per year tax increase.

We are proposing a 50,000 square foot new building which will require a bond of roughly double the size which would be approximately double the tax increase.

We believe our projected costs are in line with Longwood Library per square foot costs when you factor in cost escalation to the time we will be in construction approximately 12-18 months after a successful referendum.

How do I register to vote? 

In order to vote on the Mastics–Moriches–Shirley Community Library Bond Vote, residents must be registered. Voter eligibility requires that you be a 1) United States citizen; 2) at least 18 years of age; 3) school district resident for at least 30 days; 4) a registered voter with the District’s Board of Registry or with the Suffolk County Board of Elections.  Residents may register at any of our schools through Tuesday, January 30, 2018.  Voter registration from Wednesday, January 31, 2018 through 5 pm on February 2, 2018 will be held at the William Floyd District Office, but will continue throughout the date of the vote at the Suffolk County Board of Elections.

Applications for absentee ballots will be available in the district office starting the week of January 8 during regular business hours. Ballots will be mailed to those on the Board of Elections permanently disabled list. The last day to mail in absentee ballots to be counted in time for the vote is Wednesday, January 31, 2018; ballots may be personally delivered to the District Clerk’s office by 5:00 p.m. on the day of the vote.

Are Eastport-South Manor residents eligible to vote?

Residents of the ESM school district will not be able to vote on the proposed new MMSC Library proposition, nor will their taxes be impacted should the referendum pass. Debt service is removed from the formula used to establish contract rates for residents of communities without Library districts. Questions can be directed to Kevin Verbesey, Director – Suffolk Cooperative Library System : 631-286-1600.

What’s next? 

Much time and energy has been expended by the Library Board and staff as well as by community members in creating a vision for a new library experience and developing the means by which that vision can become a reality.  We ask that you fully consider all aspects of re-locating the Library and the features that can be obtained by way of the project’s completion.  And following such consideration, we ask that you vote on February 7, 2018.  We thank you for your consideration.

When and where do I vote? 

Voting on the bond referendum will take place on Wednesday, February 7, 2018 at the William Floyd High School, (240 Mastic Beach Road, Mastic Beach, NY 11951) East Lobby from 9:00 am – 9:00 pm.

If the vote passes, when will the new library open?

If the vote passes on 2/7/18, we will enter a year-long period of creating design documents for things like electrical, plumbing, lighting, engineering, etc. and putting this work out to public bid. The N.Y.S. Education Department has to review all the design documents once complete. Once approved it will be approximately 18 months of construction. During this time the current facility will remain open for full-Library access without inconvenience to customers.

What if I have more questions? 

Feel free to contact Library Director, Kerri Rosalia at: krosalia@communitylibrary.org or call (631) 399-1511 ext. 200.