Harrison Library, at 2 Bruce Ave., will be closed for renovations until an unconfirmed date in June 2015. File photo
By JOHN BRANDI
The Harrison Public Library has received a donation in the amount of $100,000 to go toward its renovation, which will close the 2 Bruce Ave. building for nearly a year.
Most of the funding came from donations to the Harrison Public Library Foundation and Richard E. Halperin Memorial fund, a fund set up by Ross Halperin in his father’s name.
Richard Halperin died in 2008.
With the recent donation of $100,000, the Harrison Town Council unanimously granted Halperin’s request to rename the lower-level teen center at the library to the Marmot Teen Center in recognition of the donor, Jarden Corporation, a Rye-based consumer products company.
A sign with the new name will also be placed when the renovations are completed.
Marmot, a technical apparel and equipment company, is a Jarden brand name. The name refers to a group of highly social, large ground squirrels that live in mountainous areas, according to the company’s website.
According to multiple published reports, Jarden’s contribution was in the form of a matching challenge, in which the company would contribute $1 for every $2 contributed by other local companies. Jarden’s hopes for the challenge were that it would inspire other companies to donate to the library’s enhancement.
Meanwhile, Galina Chernykh, director of the Harrison Public Library, said it’s time to prepare library patrons for the 21st Century with upgrades including doubling the size of the children’s area, transforming unused space into a teen center and equipping the library with new computers and modern amenities.
The library will be closed from Aug. 30 to an unconfirmed date in June of 2015. Patrons will be rerouted to the library’s West Harrison branch, which recently underwent its own repairs and will have extended hours to meet the demands of the public, according to Chernykh.
“We need to be optimistic moving forward,” she said.
Back in February 2014, the Harrison Town Council unanimously approved an agreement for the library renovations between the town and H3 Hardy Collaboration, a Manhattan-based architecture firm.
Nathan Rittgarn, a project architect from H3, said construction won’t actually begin until October. He said it will be a complete “gut renovation.” The project is said to be “add alternate,” meaning there are two additions planned, but, if the funding isn’t there, one of the additions will be done at a later date beyond this project.
In addition to the renovation of the children’s room and creation of the teen center, the current phase of the project will include an entryway to the south of the building, according to Rittgarn. The other addition is a reading room to the east. With this addition, all the measures are being put into place so it can be built in the future. Rittgarn said this was more cost effective than starting from scratch.
The south addition will be Americans with Disabilities Act compliant with new ramps to the sidewalk and handicapped parking.
Bollards, or metal poles, will also be placed to protect the library from someone driving into the foundation.
Rittgarn said both the teen and children’s space will be “more defined” for those who will be using the rooms. Sound barriers will be incorporated into the design to efficiently block out noise in each space.
Although things are “greener in general” in terms of technology used for construction projects, Rittgarn said it can still be at a steep cost to incorporate all green measures.
“It’s all compact, florescent and mostly energy-efficient in a way we can do it and have a decent budget,” Rittgarn said. “LED can cost 30 percent more.”
The total cost for all phases of the library renovations is expected to be about $3.5 million. So far, the Town of Harrison has pledged $1.1 million, $1.2 million comes from the Halperin memorial fund and $73,000 is coming from a public library construction grant program pioneered by the New York State Education Department and secured by state Sen. George Latimer, a Rye Democrat, and state Assemblyman David Buchwald, a White Plains Democrat. As of February 2014, fundraising efforts by the Harrison Public Library Foundation still needed to raise about $1.1 million to complete all parts of the planned project.
Halperin could not be reached for comment as of press time.