The 100-year old terra cotta facade of what is now LaGuardia Community College’s Center 3 building is due for a facelift, and at the Community Board 2 meeting on Oct. 3, the renderings were presented.
“We’re going to replace the entire facade but we intend to make sure that the same architectural theme is applied throughout the exterior,” Shahir Erfan, the Vice President of Administration for LaGuardia Community College, said.
The building, located at 29-10 Thomson Ave. in Long Island City, will not have its interior upgraded, save a few tweaks to the building’s energy use to decrease the school’s carbon footprint.
“We want to bring more greenery and light to the area to ensure it is as safe as possible, but we don’t want to compromise the theme of the building that is so well known,” Erfan said.
The building has been home to many businesses including the old Sunshine Bakery before it was purchased for LaGuardia Community College.
Much of the board seemed thrilled with the updates but there were still concerns.
One board member mentioned the lack of bike parking to which Erfan responded that the building has had ample bike parking for some time now.
“I ride my bike over there all the time and I never knew there was a place to park my bike,” she said. “I usually end up chaining my bike on the street.”
The idea of posting clearer signs for parking was jotted down by Efran and may be applied to the final project proposal.
Another idea brought forward by the board was to include a photo of the old building in the lobby after it’s renovated so that passersby can look back at the history of the area. A representative of the development said photos of the old building will be sent to the State archives in Albany but added that they would consider installing a photo in the lobby.
In addition to renovating the facade, developers are looking to move the main entrance, which currently sits on the corner of Thomson Avenue and 30th Street, and move it slightly off the corner so that it is strictly on Thomson Avenue.
“We are also adding extensions to the curbs and sidewalks,” Erfan said.
The extensions will allow students and other pedestrians to cross the street in less time, making the intersection of Thomson and Skillman avenues with 30th Street safer to cross. Similar tactics have been applied to elementary, middle and high schools around the borough that have a large number of car accidents involving pedestrians.
Construction is set to begin in March of next year.
To accommodate heavy car and foot traffic, demolition work as well as construction will be at night.