Commack residents may have to look twice to find the sleek and modern entrance of the newly renovated Commack Public Library. Hint, there’s a brand new entrance.
The Commack Public Library celebrated its grand reopening Dec. 6 after completing a $8.5 million renovation and expansion. The Hauppauge Road building was aged and out-of-date with state safety codes, according to its Director Laurie Rosenthal, as it had not undergone any significant upgrades since its construction in 1976.
Rosenthal, the library’s director for more than 15 years, said “I’m really excited to be home … this library is like a second home to me and many of our patrons.”
The newly renovated building was designed by Beatty Harvey Coco (BHC) Architects of Hauppauge to be more consistent with the modern technological era and more community friendly by providing more space for programs.
“In the beginning of the design phase, the library’s leadership defined the functional requirements for the renovation, which included expanding the dedicated spaces for children and young adults, enlarging event and community facilities, specifying more comfortable furniture, improving telecommunications and audiovisual technology, and increasing the visibility of the building’s main entrance,” said Christopher Sepp, a senior associate for BHC. “These requirements reflected the new role of the library as a community and social center for residents.”
The main entrance of the library was moved from the intersection of Commack Road and Hauppauge Road to the side of the building facing the parking lot to make the building more accessible and safer for visitors.
The former community room was expanded from 1,203 to 1,735 square feet in order to accommodate more patrons into its programs, the library director said. In addition, a new audiovisual system and movable curtain wall partition was installed to allow more than one program to be held at a time.
What Rosenthal likes to call the “coffee cup,” a brightly LED-lit entrance to the new children’s section, features soft furniture with lounge seating, train and brick play stations and colored LED lighting strips radiating out from the central ceiling that change colors based on themes and events. The library director said new iPads in protective cases will be available to allow
children to interact with technology as well as a sensory area, or quiet low-lighting room specifically designed for children with sensory and auditory needs.
Young adults have been given a 620-square-foot space off the main floor of the library which features age-appropriate reading, its own computer terminals and a booth like seating area with television and comfortable chairs where teens are invited to do homework or relax.
Throughout the library, there are varied tables, and study areas have their own built-in electrical units with Wi-Fi connections possible to allow residents to come in, sit down and connect anywhere, Rosenthal said.
In addition to the extensive redesign of the building, Islandia-based general contractor Stalco Construction made sure it was more energy efficient.
“All of the work was done with the use of sustainable and energy-efficient systems and materials to significantly improve the building’s operational efficiency, save money for years to come, and prevent the release of volatile organic compounds that could impact indoor air quality,” said Jason Vasquez, Stalco’s project manager.
The rebuild included installation of a new high-efficiency heating ventilation and air conditioning system and LED lighting fixtures throughout the library to reduce energy for lighting to one-third its prior rate. Other features include a new elevator for handicapped accessibility and fire sprinklers to bring it into compliance with state fire codes.
All Commack residents, regardless of township, are invited to come in to see or tour the library, Rosenthal said. Any Suffolk County resident with a library card can check out materials, she said, with some exceptions, as high-demand items are only for library district taxpayers.