City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer Kicks Off LaGuardia Community College Library Renovation
Long Island City, NY—December 11, 2014—New York City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer and CUNY Interim Vice Chancellor for Facilities Planning, Construction and Management Judith Bergtraum joined LaGuardia Community College President Gail O. Mellow Friday for a ceremonial groundbreaking marking the start of a massive renovation and expansion of the school library.
Van Bramer (D, Dist. 26), who was instrumental in finding funding for the project, said the new library will change the lives of LaGuardia’s students, “the sons and daughters of immigrants from all these different countries, and the sons and daughters of working class people who have struggled to pay the rent and to get by but somehow because of the determination and the love and the ambition they are here.
“And what they are getting here is so priceless, so invaluable.”
Van Bramer declared “a particular love for LaGuardia community college, not just because it is in my district, but because I know so many people who have come here, received a degree here and gone on to have richer lives in every conceivable way than they could imagine for themselves.”
“Once the $2 million renovation and expansion of the library is complete this sanctuary of learning will help over 20,000 students live out their dreams,” said Van Bramer. “LaGuardia Community College has a successful track record improving the lives and economic opportunities for countless sons and daughters of immigrants who continue to attend this world-class institution. Together with this significant investment we will ensure more students are given a state-of-the-art facility they need to enhance their academic experience.”
Dr. Mellow thanked Van Bramer, calling him “an incredible supporter of our library and all of the people in Long Island City.”
She called the library redesign, which will bring natural light into the building from two sides, “by far my favorite project.”
“Not only is the library the intellectual heart, and in some ways the academic heart of this place, but this particular project will literally flood the LaGuardia Community College library with light in a way that has never happened before,” Mellow said. “We’re in these big old factory buildings, a legacy of our forefathers who made things, and what we’re making now is the intellectual future of an extraordinary city, of an amazing borough, and in a very parochial way, Long Island City.”
Interim Vice Chancellor Bergtraum said Van Bramer and Mellow “have the same passion for helping people get ahead and helping people improve their lives. You two make public service look really, really good.”
When completed the library will grow by 21,000 square feet and contain 312 new seats with powered internet connections at each, a reading room, media lab, group study rooms, as well as 50 additional offices and support space.
Wifi internet access will continue to be available throughout the library.
Bergtraum called the new design “light and airy, with a grand staircase and new exterior windows opening the space to the community.”
“We are excited to embark on the construction project that will expand the existing library space,” said Shahir Erfan, LaGuardia’s Vice President of Administration. “The new space will leverage architectural/engineering design to promote learning and student engagement and the technology upgrades will enhance the student experience.”
“To us students, the library is our sanctuary, to study, do homework and be academically active,” said LaGuardia Student Government Political Awareness Officer Katherine Gutierrez. “More books and more space is what we need. We have waited for this renovation, and it will provide us exactly that.”
The project is expected to be completed by Fall, 2016.
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LaGuardia Community College located in Long Island City, Queens, was founded in 1971 as a bold experiment in opening the doors of higher education to all, and we proudly carry forward that legacy today. LaGuardia educates students through over 50 degree, certificate and continuing education programs, providing an inspiring place for students to achieve their dreams. Upon graduation, LaGuardia students’ lives are transformed as family income increases 17%, and students transfer to four-year colleges at three times the national average. Part of the City University of New York (CUNY), LaGuardia is a nationally recognized leader among community colleges for boundary-breaking success educating underserved students. At LaGuardia we imagine new ideas, create new curriculum and pioneer programs to make our community and our country stronger. Visit www.laguardia.edu to learn more.