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Queens Chronicle

APEC to use trailers during construction

Soil samples reveal problems; becomes a safety issue for staff

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Posted: Thursday, April 17, 2014 10:30 am | Updated: 11:00 am, Thu Apr 24, 2014.

When construction begins on the new Alley Pond Environmental Center, staff offices and classes will have to be relocated to trailers on the Douglaston property.

That’s the latest situation for Executive Director Irene Scheid, who is going to have to arrange scheduling and events around the new setup.

Scheid said Tuesday soil samples indicate that piles are going to have to be driven in deeper than expected, endangering the existing building.

Plans call for a $9 million building to be constructed behind the old facility at 228-06 Northern Blvd. The site now houses one of APEC’s parking lots.

Once the new facility is completed, the plan was to raze the old building, which started out as an outdoor furniture store.

“It’s a wetlands and a landfill,” Scheid said, “and these things happen.”

The plan now is to move everything to trailers, tear down the old building and use that space for parking while the new building goes up.

“We had to agree to move and we really had no option,” Scheid said. “We don’t know when we will be moving to trailers but it will be after the fall.”

She called the change “a disappointment” and said it will curtail some programs at the nature center.

Design drawings were scheduled to be finalized this spring and 18 months of construction to begin later this year, but no official date has been set.

The one-story, 10,000-square-foot facility will include numerous environmental features, including a rain garden that captures rainwater for irrigation. It will feature a large lobby where special events can be held, four early childhood classrooms and three large additional classrooms.

An overhanging roof will provide covered outdoor space for classes and events.

APEC is located in Alley Pond Park and includes 150 acres of woodland, meadows and fresh- and saltwater marshes with natural trails.

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