pigeon patrolCarnegie Library project manager Jack Sandezer had the gathering on Monday all agog.

He was taking the Patchogue-Medford Library staff, Friends of the Carnegie Library, Greater Patchogue Historical Society members and Legis. Rob Calarco and his staff, as well as library trustees, through some of the building’s areas.

“We’ve had the demolition contractor in and there were things revealed,” said Sandezer, who works for the Facilities Management Group, of some of the surprises.

For example, he pointed out a support issue that needed tackling.

“It’s hard to tell what’s original and what’s changed,” he said of the building’s past lives. “This would be a header, but it’s not shored up and we have some framing issues.” Sandezer was standing over by the rear entrance. “We had pigeons living on the upper story,” he added. The pigeons have been vacated humanely.

Patchogue-Medford Library director Lauren Nichols said they were now hoping for a winter or spring grand opening.

The Patchogue Carnegie Library opened in 1908 and led the state in circulation in 1915. Tritec, who owned it, donated it to the village and paid for its move to its current location in August 2012. The library’s new address, on the corner of West Avenue and West Main Street, was secured by Calarco. The village turned it over to the Patchogue-Medford Library two years ago for use as a young adult library; it will also be the home of the Greater Patchogue Historical Society. The library board committed to allow $1.5 million for renovations and Nichols said funds were achieved through the Knapp-Swezey Foundation and Priscilla Knapp Teich’s own private donations, as well as grants and fundraising from Friends of the Carnegie Library.

“I spent many an hour here as a kid,” reminisced Teich, who was looking at the gutted interior.

Historian Hans Henke was also among the interested parties. “One of the most important details was the interior woodwork,” he said.

Sandezer pointed out where there will be a wheelchair lift. “The floor will get demolished and dropped two feet,” he said, pointing to the side that faces Main Street.

The balusters made of mahogany that encircled the main entrance steps will be replicated. “I enjoy the details the old craftsmen have done, and it’s interesting to talk to people who can replicate them,” Sandezer said. “With these balusters, I’ll look for something close.”

The next steps would include redoing the outer brickwork and trim and the remainder of the demolition work.


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