UPPER WEST SIDE — The Bloomingdale Library branch is getting brand-new bathrooms and a teen center thanks to nearly $1 million in city funding, DNAinfo.com New York has learned.
The $998,000 project, funded by City Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito and the Mayor's Office, will more than double the current bathroom space and add a teen hangout area to the New York Public Library branch to meet greater demand there, said a Mark-Viverito staffer.
Currently, the 20,000-square-foot branch, located on West 100th Street between Amsterdam and Columbus avenues, has only one unisex bathroom. It houses a combination of two unenclosed urinals and one stall, meanining only one gender can use it at a time. The bathroom locks from within and typically accommodates one person at a time, often creating a line to use it, officials said.
"The bathrooms are in poor shape, although functional," said Marisa Maack, the chair of Community Board 7's youth, education and libraries committee, adding that fixing them has been a priority of the board for at least two years.
"The bathrooms at the branch needed upgraded fixtures to better accommodate visitors," added Amy Geduldig, public relations manager for the New York Public Library.
She explained that the new facilities will include one men's restroom, one women's restroom and one unisex/family restroom.
Mark-Viverito's office is providing $775,000 for bathrooms and teen center, and the Mayor's Office is contributing $223,000, said Joe Taranto, the councilwoman's deputy chief of staff.
Neither addition will expand the overall footprint of the library, Geduldig added.
"The project is still in the design stage, but the library estimates construction will begin in early 2015," she added, noting the library is working with the Department of Design and Construction on the plans.
The addition of the teen center was motivated in part by an uptick of young adults at library events, Geduldig explained.
"In recent years there have been increases in both circulation of children and young adult materials, and attendance at children and young adult programs," she said, noting that while the branch has a children's wing, there's no place just for teens.
The number of kids and young adults attending programs has more than doubled since 2007, to 16,000 this year, Geduldig said.
"The usage is just mushrooming," said Blanche Lawton, another member of the CB7 youth, education and libraries committee.
In 2011, Bloomingdale Library manager Rebecca Donsky reported to the 24th Precinct, which sits across the street, that she needed help dealing with unruly teens who were streaming into the library after school by the dozen.
The idea for a new teen room was that it would help better integrate teens into library programming, New York Public Library spokeswoman Angela Montefinise said at the time.
"The goal is to find productive and positive ways to bring teens into the library," she said.
The type of programming and level of staffing planned for the new teen room are not yet known.
This past summer, the branch closed for six weeks while new windows were installed.