By Naeisha Rose
EW Howell Construction Group in Manhattan was selected last week to be the general contractor for the new Far Rockaway Library, which is set to begin a $33 million renovation project estimated to be completed in three years.
“We are delighted to have been selected by the New York City Department of Design and Construction to build the new Far Rockaway Branch Library,” said John K. Hagen, the vice president of the education division at EW Howell.
The library will be double in size and have a new state-of-the-art building located at 1637 Central Ave., according to a spokeswoman for the Queens Library system. The facility closed down Sept. 28 to prep for construction and will have service at a temporary location at 1003 Beach 20th St. in Far Rockaway beginning Oct. 30 at 1 p.m.
There was a temporary mobile library open Oct. 15 and Oct. 22 in front of the Far Rockaway Teen Center — located at 2002 Cornaga Ave. — according to the spokeswoman.
The original library — erected n 1968 — was a single-story brick building that was 9,000 square feet, according to Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska, another spokeswoman for the library. The new structure will feature a glass curtain wall, a pyramidal entrance, a central atrium and a blue roof designed to detain water.
The renowned Norwegian architectural firm in Oslo called Snøhetta, designed the new library, according to Kern-Jedrychowska. Once completed, the green LEED-certified building will be 18,000 square feet and two stories tall. There will be an ADA-compliant entrance, restrooms, a meeting room, and a quiet room.
The facility will also feature self check-in/out equipment, an elevator, additional computer stations for children, and teen and adult spaces, according to Kern-Jedrychowska.
The library, which was used to provide disaster relief, has an elevation exceeding the new FEMA flood zone guidelines, according to EW Howell. The library is less than one mile from the Rockaway Beach Boardwalk and the construction firm hopes it that with the facility’s new size it will be a provider of even more services for the local neighborhood.
EW Howell is one of New York’s leading education, retail, cultural, government and healthcare builders, according to the construction company.
“The new Far Rockaway Branch Library, with its one-of-a-kind design, will be a prized part of the community,” said Hagen, “The project’s construction, with all of its intricate details, is unique, though becoming somewhat of a trend as we see cities looking to transform public spaces like libraries and parks into the focal point of their communities.”
Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose