HILLSDALE– Drivers along Route 22 just south of Hillsdale are seeing the new Roeliff Jansen Community Library in first bloom right along with the spring growth deployed by nature.
“Construction is almost complete,” says Meg Wormley, co-chair of the library’s Capital Campaign Committee. “They’re working on finishing trim, painting, and final things like that. We expect that we should be able to move into the library in late June.”
Ready now for its close-up, the new library space will be open for first public viewing this weekend, with tours Saturday, April 24, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Sunday, April 25 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Wednesday, April 28, from 5 to 7 p.m.
“We’ve had over 100 people visit the library so far, and the comments were uniformly great. It’s a nice building outside and a remarkably wonderful space inside,” says Ms. Wormley.
The new facility has taken almost a year to construct at an estimated cost of over $1.8 million and will serve the towns of Hillsdale, Copake and Ancram, all of which are members of the Mid Hudson Library System.
But the financial campaign to complete the project is not over. “We still need to raise $500,000 to open the library,” says Ms. Wormley. “That’s our outreach to the community now. It’s their chance to be heroes at the end of the campaign. We do have various naming opportunities and ways that people who do make contributions will be recognized by the library. Once this building is built and paid for, we’re not going to be doing anything like this for 30 or 40 years to come. So it’s a one opportunity, a one-time thing to be able to support the library.
So far, area residents and others have been quite supportive. “We’ve raised over a million dollars from people in the area, we’ve raised another million plus from state and federal grants and foundations,” the funding co-chair reports. “Of course we’re also selling the old library building for the new Hillsdale Town Hall,” she says.
Town of Hillsdale voters approved that sale last year by referendum authorizing the purchase “not to exceed $245,000.”
Ms. Wormley says some of the federal money resulted from environmentally friendly aspects of the construction and design. The project has received grant of $320,000 under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act because the building is on Roeliff Jansen Kill, which is part of the Hudson River watershed. The money is for a permeable concrete surface parking lot and driveway that allows rain runoff from Route 22 to go down through a special material on the parking lot, which acts as a filter for the pollutants coming off the road, preventing them from reaching the stream. In addition there is landscaping specifically intended to treat and contain runoff.
Sometimes it just helps to be in the right place at the right time. “Now we would not have spent $320,000 to do a parking lot,” Ms. Wormley is quick to add, “but it is giving us a paved parking lot, which we probably wouldn’t have had to start out with, and of course a far better one, and even more green.”
The new library more than doubles usable space–from 2,500 square feet in the old library to 7,500 in the building, but Meg Wormley expects the new, larger building will cost less to operate due to energy efficiency design.“It’s very well built… is extremely well insulated, and it takes advantage of the sun for warmth in the winter, doesn’t get too hot in the summer, and uses natural light.”
She says construction has gone well, and the library is “very pleased” with the work George Lagonia Construction of Hillsdale. “It’s of marvelous quality. George has been very good at ways to save us money, things that look just as good and are just as sturdy but cost us less,” Ms. Wormley says.
Green technologies have been a fundamental part of the design, but as with many energy efficient innovations yielding long-term savings, the initial cost is often higher: It takes money to save money.
“One of the reasons that we still need to raise money is that the green features are costing more than had been expected,” Ms. Wormley says. “Another is that we decided we had to put a basement in. We needed it for storage and it will be used by the Friends of the Library organization that do the book sales during the year that are very important for raising money that helps the library.”
Initially, the new structure was to use a highly efficient geo-thermal heating and cooling system, but that approach has to be postponed. “We will not have the geo-thermal wells dug at this point, but we are still planning to proceed with that in the future. But there will be solar panels, shelves that reflect light into the building, and other green features.
The new library will be more than a place to house books, and will, for instance, provide space for local activities. “Of course an important part of the library is in functioning as a community center with a large community room that will be available for use by local organizations for cultural, educational, meeting room uses,” she says. “It can be used even when the library is closed because you come in through the marvelous round foyer and go directly into the community room. There’s also a small conference room that can be used during the day.”
Ms. Wormley also wants the public to know that help and support are always needed. To save money volunteers with trucks will help with the move from the old library in June. Anyone who wishes to volunteer for the move should call her at (518) 325-1497. Anybody interested in helping plan programming for the summer should call the library at (518) 325-4101.”