The construction site behind the East Hampton Library is beginning to resemble what it will soon become — a 6,800-square-foot children’s wing.
With winter finally in the past, decorative brickwork has been laid and the new wing’s roof is being framed. Windows and doors should be delivered in the first week of May and installed by that month’s end, said Dennis Fabiszak, the library’s director. At that point, he said, work on the interior, whose design was recently finalized, will commence.
“We are excited for people to see what it’s going to look like and are going to do some focus groups with kids and parents to tweak some of the ideas that we came up with,” said Mr. Fabiszak.
The addition will include a 3,545-square-foot main level, with a basement level accounting for the remaining square footage. Part of the main level will be for sixth through eighth-grade students, a demographic that did not previously enjoy a dedicated space in the library.
On the lower level, “We went down much deeper than the original basement so we could have some nice ceiling heights and really make a beautiful room,” Mr. Fabiszak said, describing the large windows and outdoor stairwell that will allow abundant natural light. An elevator will extend to the lower level. “Finally, 100 percent of the building will be handicapped-accessible,” he said.
The construction crew worked through the winter, Mr. Fabiszak said, though the harsh weather conditions were hardly conducive to a smooth process. “We still were able to work through,” he said. “They even came up with an ingenious way to heat from underneath, so they were able to pour the concrete. We were able to get a lot done over the winter.”
Construction has been slower than initially anticipated, Mr. Fabiszak said, with completion now slated for the end of this year. “The steelwork took a little longer than we had hoped, but we’ve built a very strong and sound building,” he said. “We want to do it right since we spent a lot of time planning.”
That planning included a “greener” building than existed before. The library will transition from oil to gas heat, said Mr. Fabiszak, and will include solar panels and improved insulation. He has also applied for a grant from the state to obtain a building-wide generator, citing the library’s importance to the community in the wake of Hurricanes Irene and Sandy. “The community flooded into the library because we had Internet and power,” he said. “If there’s a bigger storm and we lose power like everybody around us, we still want to be able to provide service. We really want to make this a space that can be self-sufficient if we need to and still provide service.”
Parking will be expanded as soon as construction materials can be cleared from the area, he said. “One of the big things the community wanted is more parking. That will be done before the summer.”
The project, Mr. Fabiszak said, is proceeding under its projected budget. “Things are really in line,” he said. “Fund-raising is going great. We have donors coming in weekly for private tours so they can see what parts of it they want to sponsor. There’s a lot of support behind it.”