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Ridgewood Library’s multi-million dollar renovation plan detailed in minutes of recent Library Board meetings


December 23,2016
By Boyd A. Loving

Ridgewood NJ, So much for the Library Board’s recent statement that the building renovation plans announced by Councilman Jeffrey Voigt:  ” . . thus far have been merely speculative” and ” . . . should not have served as an announcement.”

From the official minutes of the Ridgewood Public Library Board of Trustees dated January 21, 2016:


Ms. Greene described the five-year planning process conducted by the Library, which included development of a Strategic Plan with consultant Alan Gray of Darien Library, and a Building Program with consultant Leslie Burger of Princeton Library.

Ms. Campbell welcomed Mr. Gisolfi, Ms. Abate and Mr. Mintzes (of Peter Gisolfi Associates, Architects) as participants on the Ridgewood Library schematics team.

Mr. Gisolfi explained his goal of developing transparency and further unifying the Library’s architectural styles from the 1950s and 1990s. He narrated a slide presentation which included these recommendations:

• Install a square clerestory in the center of the original roof to admit additional light.

• Create a 28′ x 28′ opening in the center of the original building, between the 1st and 2nd floors.

Mr. Gisolfi also showed an alternate location for the opening which had been considered earlier.

• Transform the Auditorium into a Performing Arts Center: expand the footprint and height, build tiered

seating, eliminate the raised stage and add backstage and storage areas.

• Create a large new meeting room against the 1st floor south wall, and a smaller new meeting room on

the northwest corner of the 2nd level (location of existing staff room.)

• Enlarge Young Adult Center on the 1st floor and move it against the building’s west wall.

• Enlarge Tech Training Center, encompassing existing Silent Study room and part of Heritage Archives.

• Enlarge 2nd floor Lobby to envelope elevator.

• Open east wall of Bolger Heritage Center toward Reference Center.

• Add Silent Study and 2 smaller study rooms to south wall of Mezzanine; add windows to solid walls.

• Reduce size of staff service desks and offices; add small staff “pods” in all public areas.

The estimated cost for construction and finishes is $5,252,126 to $6,374,583.

The following questions from members of the Board, Friends and Foundation were answered by Mr. Gisolfi.

(1) Will the parking issue be addressed? A: No, Parking was not in the Schematics proposal.

(2) Would the Young Adult area get larger? A: Yes, it would increase by almost 66%.

(3) How will the Performing Arts Center be different? A: The new space would allow for both fixed

seating and removable chairs, and could fit up to 260 seats all together.

(4) Will there be a new kitchen and ticket sale areas for accommodate entertainment and events?

A: The Lobby will feel larger due to the new layout of cafe counter. The larger kitchen area will be

on the 2nd level.

(5) Can the Auditorium open up to the outdoors? A: It’s possible with doors opening toward the patio.

The layout of the stage is also changed to encourage a more fluid flow of people.

(6) Is the total area of shelving changed? A: There is a slight reduction.

(7) To add versatility to the space, can you avoid using fixed table lamps? A. There can be mostly

ceiling lighting.

(8) How can we be sure the proposed budget is feasible? A: The owner’s architect contract would

include a clause requiring the architect to stay within proposed budget.

(9) Construction management? A: Construction supervision is included in the architect cost.

Mr. Fisher pointed out that from a taxpayers’ point of view, the library will be more multi-functional.

Ms. Campbell and the Board thanked Mr. Gisolfi and his team for the detailed presentation.

From the official minutes of the The Ridgewood Public Library Board of Trustees dated November 22, 2016:

“ARCHITECT PRESENTATION —Peter Gisoifi & Robert Mintzes”

Mr. Gisoifi presented revised floor plans and new hand-drawn renderings for the proposed library renovation.

Option A is the new plan which gives the Teen Center a prominent location with windows and an adjacent Makerspace Lab. Option B places a large Meeting Room in that location. Both versions show new meeting rooms of all sizes throughout the Library, and feature a circular central opening with spiral staircase that connects the 1st and 2nd floors under two new rooftop skylights. Phase 1 of the project would renovate all areas of the existing library, and Phase 2 would update the Auditorium into a Performing Arts Center, featuring tiered seating in a slightly larger footprint. From very early cost estimates, Phase 1 and Phase 2 are forecast to cost roughly $4 million and $1 million, respectively.

The plans were well received by all present. Mr. Gisoifi will firm up and verify the construction cost estimates, and will prepare a proposal for architectural design development.

Ms. Greene noted that the Library will need to develop a full Capital Budget Proposal to include all related costs – construction, site work, professional fees, furnishings, technology, moving and storage of all holdings and contingency. The Trustees discussed where to base the Library’s operations during the year or so of major construction. Ideas mentioned: Elks Club, Zusy Center at Village Hall, Brakeorama site, a storefront similar to the mini-mall space used by Wyckoff Library during their construction, or a temporary modular library in the parking lot, delivered by tractor trailer.

23 thoughts on “Ridgewood Library’s multi-million dollar renovation plan detailed in minutes of recent Library Board meetings

  1. sounds like the library board barely discussed it.

  2. “Merely speculative” my ass. They already have an architectural plan and their eyes set on sites to serve as temporary HQ while being out of commission for “a year or so.” And how much money will need to be spent renovating a temporary HQ? And the kicker is that NO PLANS have been made to address the parking problems there. Build it bigger, but make no plans for the additional users to park? Does that make any sense Nancy?

  3. Guess Mr. Voigt was speaking the truth. Perhpas we should listen more carefully to his other allegations.

  4. LIERS.. are they Aronsohn followers by any chance?

  5. Here we go again. I can just picture the scenario in my mind – Nancy Greene standing before the Village Council and asking that funds be approved for this project, otherwise the monies spent on the planning and design phase will be wasted. Didn’t we hear the same arguments from Roberta Sonenfeld about the proposed Hudson Street parking deck (GARAGE)?

  6. Do these people have any integrity? Aside from misleading residensts with their public statement, the Elks Lodge IS part of the plan. Janis Fuhrman, an award winning realtor, Library Board of Trustee member, held to the NAR Code of Ethics…turned to Social Media, in June and December, saying the Elks Lodge and library renovations are not related. “Too funny.”
    Perhaps Janis can explain what happened there.

  7. 8:22: JEFF VOIGT there is no problem with you speaking. There is a problem with you not showing proof to back your statements. There is also a problem with your abusive delivery. When Mayor Knudsen read the library’s statement, why didn’t you speak up, say residensts are being mislead and provide the meeting minutes as proof. C’mon, you said you speak up against unfair/unjust…residents are waiting

  8. Let them raise the funds without increasing taxes and figure out a parking plan. I do not favor increasing taxes 1 penny for this nor do I support any plan that does not feature additional parking. There is limited parking as it is, as any patron or librarian can tell you. Would be typical Ridgewood to build it, then cry that we need a garage to support it.

    Actually, lightbulb moment, let’s just build a huge garage there and let all employees in town park there for free.

  9. 9:43–8:22 here. I am not Jeff and didnt support him at all in recent election.. I agree with you totally. I wish Jeff would publish his accusations somewhere. I want to know what the heck he is talking about but dont really have time or inclination to call him personally.

  10. 10:06…His accusations have been proven false which is why he is not publishing the details anywhere. Instead he has engaged in a private smear campaign.

  11. I must have missed it. What were the accusations? How were they proved false?

  12. Better idea: DROP LIBRARY PLAN. It was always an awful building built in the wrong place. Reduce books but make a big kitchen? No need for food preparation in a library. Whole thing is sickening. All around town groups are coming up with ways to spend millions of dollars. The full-day kindergarten fiasco is more than enough for a while.

  13. full day kindergarten has the spending dogs out of their kennels on any issue that spends other people’s money …what a joke,jokes on us..sadly

  14. Wait a minute didn’t Mayor Susan Knudsen state at the last public meeting that she had spoke to the the Library. The Mayor then went on to assure the public that this plan was “Merely speculative” . Mayor you took their word for it. Maybe you should have investigated a little more. You are the Mayor or are you going to blame Voigt for this.

  15. Perhaps she meant it is speculative as in it is not approved by the village council and will not be so is ultimately going nowhere.

  16. Renovation is just fine. HOWEVER, routine maintenance and upkeep is lacking for past decade. Look what happened to Pease , a beloved historic icon for the village. .look closely at th physical plant of the library next time you visit. Not maintained adequately. Be sure that the director is accountable for plant maintenance.

  17. Nice try 12:45.

  18. Mayor Knudsen received a notification from the library that discussions were very preliminary. Why should she have investigated this and not taken a village employee at her or his word? The Mayor did not do anything wrong.

    Councilman Voigt, on the other hand, knew that there had been multiple detailed discussions with architect plans. The onus was on him to refute what the mayor read. Come on Jeff, we know you have no problem interrupting her to spew nastiness. I guess you were shy about interrupting her to refute the library’s lies? You are such a dirt bag Voigt. Despicable

  19. Well Madam Mayor who did you receive the notification from and what action are you going to take against this employee for misleading you and the public? Are you going to reveal to the taxpayers at the next meeting how much these study have cost and who authorized these expenditures of taxpayers money . Or after taking the lead at last week meeting you are now going to lay this on Voigt. You Mayor contacted the Library now follow up and let the residents know.

  20. Who will be paying for this nonsense?
    A 2 story atrium with a clerestory cut into the roof. I know i’m getting old and crotchetty, but doesnt anyone care how high their property taxes go? How long is the Trump effect supposed to last?

  21. If someone lied to the Mayor which caused her to give that incorrect information to the public they should be FIRED. Who can we trust in this town ?

  22. The library needs a bathroom renewal for all those lavatory facilities ;,some lighting upgrades paint and call it a day. The tutors have taken it over as their private offices .,a cash business where we pay and they play ..don’t ask don’t tell policy ..lets get some honesty here.the staff works hard..lets support the line employees as much as we can.puttimg them on the unemployment line is wrong..they have bills and kids in college too.

  23. Percentage wise how many of th Library’s patrons are tutoring or being tutored (i.e., paid tutoring)?

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