Tag Archives: renovations

Children’s Room renovations coming to Queens Library’s Broadway branch


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Queens Library

Starting Monday, Sept. 8, the Children’s Room at the Queens Library’s Broadway branch in Long Island City will remain closed for four months as it undergoes renovations. An alternate children’s room will open on Sept. 15, but it will offer limited services.

The renovated Children’s Room will include more computers for children to use, brand new furniture, more space for librarians to attend to customers and a self-check station. The room will also feature a model train set that will circulate in the front of the room, suspended from overhead tracks.

While the Children’s Room remains closed, the rest of the Broadway library will stay open during the renovations.

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USTA plans to build roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Renderings courtesy of the United States Tennis Association

Updated Thursday, August 15

Tennis fans may no longer have to suffer when it rains during the U.S. Open.

The United States Tennis Association (USTA) officially announced on Thursday that it will construct a retractable roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium, the central court in the Grand Slam tournament, as a part of sweeping $550 million renovation of the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

“We have been working toward a viable design for a roof on Arthur Ashe Stadium for more than a decade,” said Dave Haggerty, president and chair of the USTA. “Through a long and arduous process, we feel that we now have a design that meets the criteria of being architecturally sound, aesthetically pleasing, reasonably affordable, and buildable.”

In the past, fans and players expressed concern about a roof at the U.S. Open to put an end to rain interruptions. With the retractable roof on Arthur Ashe Stadium, all four Glam Slam tournaments will have at least one covered court or plans to build one.

The renovations will be completed by the 2018 U.S. Open and will also include two new stadiums, a viewing plaza for practice courts and southern relocation of courts. This will allow the tennis center to hold 10,000 more people daily during the Grand Slam. The USTA will pay for the construction through bonds and “revenue generation.”

The roof itself is expected to cost $100 million and should be ready by 2017. The roof is being designed by Rossetti, the architect of Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Construction will begin after this year’s U.S. Open in three phases. The first is to shift the existing practice courts and two tournament courts to the north and expand the viewing area near the practice courts. The viewing plaza near the practice courts will allow fans to view players as they warm up and train.

In phase two the new 8,000-seat Grandstand Stadium will be built in the southwest quadrant of the tennis center in time for the 2015 U.S. Open. In the final phase, a new 15,000-seat Louis Armstrong Stadium will be constructed, “roof-ready,” by 2018 U.S. Open. The USTA also plans to redesign the walkways around the center to make strolling around the area easier for fans.

“We recognize there are many known, and certainly many unknown, hurdles we will have to confront to meet this schedule,” said Gordon Smith, USTA executive director. “We are ready for the challenge and hope we can achieve it.”

 

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New modern library opens in Glen Oaks this May


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Queens Public Library

Glen Oaks is getting a sleek new library that opens in the third week of May, officials said.

The $17 million facility at 256-04 Union Turnpike is 18,000 square feet­­—nearly double the size of the neighborhood’s temporary library at 255-01 Union Turnpike. The new, three-story building will have more customer service features including computer workstations, an outdoor reading space and separate areas for adults, teens and children.

The library will also have a sweeping interior staircase, a sky-lit reading lounge and a partial glass exterior.

As construction wraps up, the temporary branch will close on May 3, officials said.

Bookworms can visit nearby libraries in Bellerose or Windsor Park until the grand opening. Materials can be renewed online at www.queenslibrary.org or by phone at 718-990-8508.

 

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Library expansion breaks ground in memory of Queens activist


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

Their eyes looking to the skies in memory of a lost beloved leader, elected officials drove their golden shovels into the dirt to break ground on a long-anticipated library expansion project.

“It feels so good to be standing here today, knowing that construction is beginning,” said Queens Library President Thomas Galante at the Friday, April 19 ceremony.

The $10 million renovation project at the Kew Gardens Hills Library was a longtime pet project of Pat Dolan, a Queens activist who was struck and killed by a car last November. She was 72.

“Her memory lives on,” Galante said. “The library she loved so much is now officially located on Pat Dolan Way, and this [expansion] will be her legacy to the community. We will always know she is looking on.”

There will be an extra 3,000 square feet of space when the branch at 72-33 Pat Dolan Way reopens in 2015, officials said.

The library will also have twice as many computers, a bigger meeting room, an energy-saving roof and larger, separate spaces for adults, teens and children.

“This will be a fantastic library. It’s going to be a great place,” said Borough President Helen Marshall. “Libraries are important because they’re full of knowledge. Little children, teenagers, seniors—they’re good for everyone to absorb knowledge.”

The branch closed for construction on February 22. A temporary library is open at 71-34 Main Street, library officials said. Nearby branches are also located in Hillcrest, Briarwood and Pomonok.

 

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branch

$7M in renovations for Queens Library branch


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo rendering by Queens Library

The Kew Gardens Hills library will soon close to make way for a $7 million renovation.

An extra 3,000-square-feet of space will be added to the 72-33 Vleigh Place branch, library officials said. There will also be twice as many computers, a bigger meeting room, larger separate spaces for adult, teens and children and an energy-saving roof.

“Queens Library at Kew Gardens Hills serves so many people who have a diverse range of educational and informational needs,” said Queens Library President Thomas Galante. With a “dramatic façade and green roof, it will be like a new library for the community.”

David Kirschner, co-president of the Kew Gardens Hills Civic Association, said the expansion could not have been done without longtime community leader Pat Dolan, who was struck and killed in November 2011 while crossing the street.

“We’re thrilled primarily because this was one of [her] pet projects,” Kirschner said. “She really worked for years to obtain approval for an expansion of the library. She was finally able to get it but never able to finally see it happening.”

The branch will close on February 22 and reopen in 2015. A temporary library will be available mid-March at 71-34 Main Street during construction. Nearby branches are also located in Hillcrest, Briarwood and Pomonok.

 

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Bayside Library to close for renovations


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Bayside bookworms will soon have to get their literary fixes elsewhere.

The Bayside branch of the Queens Library, located at 214-20 Northern Boulevard, will close on December 29 to begin its $1.3 million renovation project, officials said.

The complete interior makeover, funded by city and borough leaders, includes the installation of a new self-service check-out station, separate areas for adults, teens and children, full handicap accessibility, and a “bright new décor” at the 10,300 square-foot public library, said library officials.

It is expected to reopen in the summer of 2013.

A mobile library will provide limited service at the front of the Bayside branch during construction. Hours of service are available at www.queenslibrary.org.

Book lovers, in the interim, can also visit nearby branches, including East Flushing at 196-36 Northern Boulevard, Douglaston/Little Neck at 249-01 Northern Boulevard, and Bay Terrace at 18-36 Bell Boulevard.

Tudor Park’s $1M upgrades ready for their close-up


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Batter up!

The city’s renovations to the Tudor Park ball field have reached completion, although residents may have to wait until spring to plant their feet on the new grounds.

“Tudor Park is always a very active area, and it’s always very full. When you have a park that people use, it needs to be upgraded,” said Frank Dardani, president of the Ozone Tudor Civic Association. “I think this is great. Any time that the city wants to do some work and upgrade things, I’m very happy about it.”

According to Dardani, the original field suffered huge draining problems along with damages from constant overuse.

“The field was not in great shape. It was pretty beat up,” Dardani said. “It was just so old that something needed to be done.”

Now, thanks to the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation, newly-planted trees and bushes line the perimeters of the new two-sport dual baseball and cricket field, which has been laid down with new and natural grass. Dardani also said the park now has three pieces of exercise equipment for seniors in place of old, concrete bleachers that have been removed from the site.

“We’re a small, tight-knit community. We want to get our seniors out of the house and give them something to do, and we want our young families to come out with their children, too,” said Dardani. “It’s very important to have a very safe environment for everyone to come to.”

Dardani said he hopes the upgrades will draw more community members to the park, ultimately cutting down neighborhood crime and gang activity.

“If more good and responsible people are in the park, just their presence alone will be a deterrent for these people. There will be eyes and ears watching,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dardani said he’s working on securing a sprinkler system in the park to make sure the $1 million spent on the project — provided by Borough President Helen Marshall — doesn’t go down the drain.

“That grass will get beat up pretty quick in the heat of the summer,” Dardani said. “We’re more than happy with what they gave us. We wanted to thank the borough president, but we also wanted to make her aware if at all possible to put in a sprinkler system to finish the job and have it last longer than it probably would without it.”

Construction on the new field began in September of 2011 and was completed this winter. It is slated to open in the late spring when the new sod properly “attaches” itself to the ground underneath, said a Parks Department spokesperson.

 

Archbishop Molloy gets 21st Century library


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photos by Joseph Sommo

Books and bookworms alike at Archbishop Molloy High School now have a new place to call home.

Students and faculty at the Briarwood school welcomed a brand new, state-of-the-art library in September at the start of the school year.

“It’s fantastic. It is light-years ahead of what it used to be,” said alumnus Joseph Sommo, who is also the school’s alumni communications coordinator.

In order to accommodate the increased technological demands and advances, the former library — which was first erected over 50 years ago when the school was constructed in 1957 — was stripped down and rebuilt inside and out.

“Education is constantly changing and evolving. We need to keep up with the pace,” Sommo said. “This is something that had to be done, and everybody is thankful for it. It needed to be rebuilt. It wasn’t up to the times. The infrastructure was old, and it hasn’t been updated since the school was built. It needed the technological upgrades.”

The school’s newly-modernized William J. Murphy Library features an expansive research lab that boasts 40 laptop computers dedicated to online research, which is supported by more than one linear mile of cable implanted during construction. New additions also include a unique college preparatory center and a multimedia conference room that serves both faculty and students.

In addition, energy-efficient lighting, climate control, carpeting with new wood-crafted furniture and a library database — which serves as a more efficient, green solution in maintaining records — were also installed during the transformation.

“It’s been 50 years since we did major renovations in the library,” said Richard Karsten, the school’s president. The new library is a state-of-the-art solution for the next 25 years. It’s a clean, safe and well-lit environment for students to work in.”

The “ambitious” project was completed over the course of “one short summer,” Karsten said, adding that the “effective execution” came after one year of planning. The renovation broke ground in late May this year after classes ended and was completed before the first bell of the semester rang.

“It was old fashioned to say the least,” Sommo said. “It’s a lot more welcoming and inviting than before. There are a lot more students in there now, trust me. A lot of them used to go down to the lounge. The library is a place that everyone gravitates toward now. It’s cozy and it’s a good place to get your work done. It’s definitely received an update that is worthy of the school, its students and faculty.”