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December 20, 2016

DDC Presents New Elmhurst Community Library in Queens

Ian Michaels

Dan Leibel

Elmhurst, NY – New York City Department of Design and Construction (DDC) Commissioner Feniosky Peña-Mora joined Queens Library President Dennis Walcott, Queens Borough President, Council Member Daniel Dromm, and local officials today to celebrate the completion of the new Elmhurst Library.

The new 32,000-square-foot facility at 86-01 Broadway is triple the size of the original library at the location and features three floors and a full basement; separate reading areas for children, teens, and adults; a main reading atrium; front and rear gardens; green roofs and advanced environmental sustainability measures; and a prominent glass cube reading room that looks out on Broadway containing a NYC Percent for Art project by the Artist Allan McCullum. Other features will be cyber, media, and adult learning centers; a “memory wall”; and a learning garden among its 13,000-square-feet of outdoor space.

The new Elmhurst Library at 86-01 Broadway (Photo by NYCDDC)
The new Elmhurst Library at 86-01 Broadway (Photo by NYCDDC)

“A strong public library system is an indicator of equity in education,” said DDC Commissioner Feniosky Peña-Mora. “It exposes young people to resources that help them build a productive future, and it lets everyone know that this is a community that embraces knowledge and learning. The Queens Library system is thriving under the inspired leadership of Dennis Walcott, and is investing heavily in its future. DDC is proud to be a part of that investment.”

“The new Elmhurst Community Library is a direct response to the changing needs and demographics of a vibrant, diverse neighborhood,” said Queens Library President and CEO Dennis M. Walcott. “We expect it to be the most heavily trafficked library in our system, and one of the busiest in the country, with 1.2 million children, adults and teens coming here to learn, dream, explore and get what they need to navigate through life. We are grateful to the many individuals who made this day possible, from the Department of Design and Construction and our elected leaders to our staff and our volunteers, and look forward to meeting and hopefully exceeding the expectations of our customers for this library.”

“The new Elmhurst Library is a magnificent facility that will be a center of learning, literacy and culture for residents of all ages for decades to come,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. “This beautiful building will be a welcoming community hub where residents can enjoy Queens Library’s educational and cultural programs, its computer services, and its vast collection of books and other media. I commend the New York City Department of Design and Construction, Queens Library and all the officials involved in this project for all they have done to make this great new library a reality.”

"The Elmhurst Library is back and better than ever," said Council Member Daniel Dromm. "I welcome this beautiful state-of the-art facility into the community. Libraries are a vital part of every NYC neighborhood. They connect our children with the resources they need to learn and offer them a quiet place to study. Libraries also serve as community centers for our seniors. This new and improved building will ensure that the Queens Library continues to meet the needs of the Elmhurst community. I thank Queens Library President Dennis Walcott and NYC Department of Design and Construction Commissioner Feniosky Peña-Mora for all they have done to bring about this exciting development."

“I am so happy to celebrate the opening of Elmhurst Library,” said State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky. “The neighborhood has long asked for a up-to-date library and now, just in time for the holiday season, the community will get their wish. A good library is essential in promoting education for all. From young people looking to build a foundation for their future to immigrants looking to learn English to seniors looking to learn more about technology, the Queens Library has remained a staple in so many communities. I look forward to seeing dozens of people walking in and out of these doors each day, taking advantage of all this new library has to offer.”

The previous library at the location had been the second most busy in the Queens Library system based on circulation, and served 80,000 patrons per year. The project cost was $32.4 million.

The building includes environmental sustainability features such as green roofs that allow it to achieve LEED Silver certification. The interior spaces are served by two large rooftop-mounted HVAC units, a smaller rooftop mounted HVAC unit, and three small split air-conditioning systems, which are controlled via automated building management systems for efficiency. Two high efficiency hot water boilers are used to service unit and cabinet heaters, and reheat coils on variable air volume heating systems that feed fin tube radiators.

A sample of the Elmhurst Library Percent for Art installation
A sample of the Elmhurst Library Percent for Art installation (Photo by NYCDDC)

A Percent for Art installation entitled “Collection of nine hundred and fifty five shapes” by Artist Allan McCollum as part of his Shapes Project is featured throughout the building. To ensure that no two shapes will be alike, McCollum designed a system of 300 individual parts that may be combined to produce over 31 billion different shapes. The artist hopes that the Shapes Project installation may come to symbolize the community of Elmhurst, its goals for unity, and its love of diversity.

The installation received a Design Award from the Public Design Commission. More information about Percent for Art and a DDC video on the Elmhurst Library Percent for Art installation can be seen here:

Elmhurst Library was designed by Marpillero Pollak Architects, Severud Associates, ADS Engineers, and Steven Winter Associates under DDC’s Design and Construction Excellence 2.0 program, which pre-selects and pre-qualifies design firms that DDC works with on projects with construction budgets of up to $50 million. The program is designed to decrease the amount of time required for DDC to procure design services, while ensuring the highest levels of quality and professionalism in construction projects managed by the agency. The contractor was Stalco Construction.

All firms in the program are committed to incorporating DDC’s Design and Construction Excellence 2.0 Guiding Principles into their work. DDC’s Guiding Principles are a series of non-prescriptive guidelines designed to ensure that public projects are designed and built to the highest standards that comply with Mayor Bill de Blasio’s vision of a sustainable, resilient, equitable, and healthy City. DDC recently announced the next group of design and architecture firms that will participate in the program up to 2019.

About the NYC Department of Design and Construction
The Department of Design and Construction is the City’s primary capital construction project manager. In supporting Mayor de Blasio’s lenses of growth, sustainability, resiliency, equity and healthy living, DDC provides communities with new or renovated public buildings such as such as firehouses, libraries, police precincts, new or upgraded roadways, sewers, water mains in all five boroughs. To manage this $15 billion portfolio, DDC partners with other City agencies, architects and consultants, whose experience bring efficient, innovative, and environmentally-conscious design and construction strategies to city projects. For more information, please visit