Brad Kelly Staff writer
Section: LOCAL,  Page: B2

Date: Saturday, January 14, 1989

The Pine Hills branch of the Albany Public Library will nearly double in size when it moves from a Victorian-style house on Madison Avenue into a former New York Telephone building at 517 Western Ave., according to Mayor Thomas M. Whalen III.

Whalen said Friday that the city intends to provide 7,435 square feet of space - almost the entire first floor of the building - for the library and basement storage space. "I think that's a figure we are all happy with," the mayor said at a City Hall press conference. "We look forward to a number of increased activities at the Pine Hills Library."

He was unable to say how much the project will cost or when the new library will open.

Whalen's announcement was applauded by Virginia Hammer, co- chairman of the Pine Hills Neighborhood Association library committee. The association had recommended the library be expanded to approximately 8,000 square feet when it moves from 1000 Madison Ave., a building the College of Saint Rose purchased from the Church of St. Vincent de Paul in 1985.

At one point, the city had planned to move the library into the firehouse on West Lawrence Street after Engine 10 moved to a new building on Brevator Street.

The city last week paid $321,500 for the 2 1/2-floor brick telephone company building, Assistant Corporation Counsel Gerard Maney said.

Whalen dropped a plan to move the Division 1 police station from Madison and Western avenues, adjacent to the empty firehouse, into the second floor of the former telephone building. Whalen said Friday that he does not know who will occupy the second floor of the building.

John Holt-Harris Jr., president of library directors, said the Albany architectural firm of Einhorn Yaffe Prescott will be retained by the city to draw up plans for the library.

Hammer suggested the city hire a consultant to re-design the building's interior.