Although progress has been slow, the North Bellmore Public Library Board of Trustees has reached another milestone in the long-awaited library expansion project, which has been in the preparatory phase for three years, by awarding four key construction bids.
“I’m just glad that something’s finally moving,” Library Director Tom Bazzicalupo said on Monday.
Renu Contracting and Restoration, a Copiague company that has done projects for Hofstra University, Nassau BOCES and the Merrick School District, will take on the general contractor role.
Hi-Tech Air Conditioning Service, a West Babylon company that has done business with Nassau and Suffolk counties, as well as the Diocese of Rockville Centre, will handle heating, ventilating and air conditioning.
Hirsch and Co. will handle plumbing and the fire sprinklers, and Relle Electric Corp., electrical systems and the fire alarm.
The expansion project, which began as a simple renovation of the 56-year-old building, will eventually provide larger department spaces and a “community living room,” with space for reading, writing, working or reflecting. The structure was last expanded in 1986.
The $8.9 million project is being financed with a 15-year bond approved by North Bellmore School District voters in May 2015.
Construction was initially slated to begin last August, but obtaining state approval for the plans and working with the North Bellmore School District to ready the library’s temporary location — which will be on school district property — has slowed the process.
Once construction begins, the library will make its temporary home on the old basketball courts adjacent to 1602 Bellmore Avenue, where four trailers will hold the most commonly circulated materials. A 49-space parking lot will also be provided.
Bazzicalupo said on Monday that new construction dates have still not been finalized, but members of the staff have been going through the process of whittling down the library’s collection so that it can fit in the trailers.
Raymond Beeler, of Gallin Beeler Design Studio, the architects behind the expansion, said this week that he was encouraged by the progress on the project.
“We’re delighted that the project is moving ahead, and we think the design of the new library is going to greatly benefit everybody in North Bellmore,” he said. “So we’re very excited about it.”
“It is what it is,” Bazzicalupo said of the project’s delays. “But it’s going to be much, much better.”