BY TRISHA SAKHUJA
The new Hunters Point Community Library project is stuck in limbo because the construction bids came in at more than the budgeted $28.6 million in capital funding.
Even though the final design of the library was completed in spring 2013 by the City’s Dept. of Design and Construction and well-known architect Steven Holl Architects, the bids came back from the construction firms ranging from $33 million to $42 million, according to a letter to the Friends of Hunters Point Community Library, signed by Thomas Galante, president and CEO of the Queens Library.
Library-goers will have to wait longer to see a functioning building on the parcel of land at Center Boulevard and 48th Avenue, next to Gantry State Park. However, Galante reassured the community, writing they are “100 percent committed to building a library to serve this dynamic community.”
Joanne King, Queens Library director of communications, said not to worry because the building is going to be built.
“It will be the same size and its going to have the same construction features, but it may not have the same lighting fixtures,” she said.
“The estimates came in over the budget, so the Library and the DDC is going to do what they call ‘value engineering,’ which means that they preserve the most important parts of the building and they are going to find less expensive ways to produce the same thing,” King said.
The value engineering exercise and the bid process could take up to eight months, King added.
According to the letter, the DDC has “developed a new and more extensive list of contractors for bidding,” Galnate wrote.
“We plan to solicit bids to build the Hunters Point Library in late March, and look forward to breaking ground on the new library as quickly as possible,” a DDC spokesperson said in a statement.
In the letter, Galante noted that the new plans will not include the Geothermal Well system. Instead, a more traditional heating and cooling system will be put in place. Also, the aluminum exterior facade will now be cement and glass, and the custom interior fixtures will be replaced with standard ones.
All together, the changes will yield as much as $4.7 million in cost, based on DDC estimates, Galante wrote.
Once the library is complete, Galante wrote that it will be the largest in the Borough at 21,000-square-feet. It will have four areas for children, teens and adults. It will also consist of a 150 seat community room on the ground floor and outdoor space that will meld seamlessly with the Gantry State Park.
While the DDC will issue new bids to the new list of contractors by March, the Queens Library of Court Square will be expanding.
“It’s always a good thing to have more library service,” King said. “The expanded space, which is being donated by Citibank, is going to feature a children’s room and a community room.”
Reach Trisha Sakhuja at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 128, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @Tsakhuja13.