Library prepares to move, questions about renovation remain

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The Hampton Library in Bridgehampton is preparing relocate temporarily while undergoing a $6 million expansion project, but the board member who has served as the architect will likely no longer be involved in the project.

Library Trustee Marjorie Goldberg, an architect who designed the renovations to the former Marders building on Montauk Highway east of Ocean Road, where the library will take up temporary residence, stepped down from working on the project last Friday, the day after she presented the library’s plans to the Southampton Town Planning Board.

She said that she will be replaced by architect Debbie Krops and engineer Greg Llewellyn, who plans to ensure that the building’s footings and columns can withstand the weight of library books and equipment.

Library Director Susan LaVista said that Ms. Goldberg will still be involved with the project in some capacity, but declined to comment on who would replace her. Ms. Goldberg would not comment at length on her reason for stepping down from the renovation project. Library board President Gail Davenport did not return calls for comment.

The renovation project, which was approved by voters last summer, will add 4,300 square feet to the existing building and will likely take one and a half years to complete, according to Ms. LaVista.

Southampton Town purchased the Marders building in 2003 as part of the neighboring Nathaniel Rogers House property and is allowing the library to use the building rent-free if the library renovates the interior of the building.

Last Thursday, Ms. Goldberg presented plans for the renovation to the town Planning Board.

Those plans include a 21-space parking lot, which will be provided by the town, handicapped accessibility improvements and serious structural stabilization necessary to hold the weight of the books that will moved to the building.

Ms. Goldberg said that the roof of the Marders building will also need serious repair, which the town may need to address since it is charged with making the exterior renovations to the building.

“We’ll be cleaning out years and years of debris and dead animals, making the bathrooms handicapped accessible, painting the upstairs and repairing all the derelict aspects of the building,” said Ms. Goldberg. She added that the entrance to the building will also need to be regraded in order to make it accessible to the handicapped.

The renovations to the Marders building were initially expected to cost the library between $20,000 and $30,000, though Ms. LaVista said Tuesday that she isn’t certain what the actual cost to renovate the building will be.

A new heating and air conditioning system has already been installed in the building.

Though town planners only saw the application in a work session last week, the library plans to submit formal plans for the renovation to the Marders building within weeks.

“We were aware that the building needed some work,” said Ms. LaVista. “Our lease agreement is that we have to do the internal work and go through the permit process” despite the fact that the building is owned by the town.

Ms. LaVista said that the library is planning to move a third of its collection, including eight public access computers, two card catalog computers, audiovisual materials, children’s books and all the new and most popular books, to the new site.

Temporary offices and an employee lounge for the library’s seven staff members will be placed on the second floor of the barn.

The Friends of the Hampton Library, which holds a popular “Fridays at Five” lecture series in the summer, is planning to hold five of the lectures at the Bridgehampton Community House and several others at as-yet-undisclosed locations in Bridgehampton.

Ms. LaVista said that some of the programs may be held at the Bridgehampton School.

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