By Amanda Wyatt
Trunzo Building Contractors, the company overseeing John Jermain Memorial Library’s (JJML) renovation and expansion project, is no stranger to the village of Sag Harbor. In fact, the business was founded and continues to be run by a family of Sag Harbor natives, so renovating the hometown historic library is right up their alley.
“I have a personal connection [to John Jermain],” said Pat Trunzo III, who runs the company. I remember as a boy, living in Sag Harbor, going there. I went there quite a bit. I remember it from my boyhood days.”
Trunzo was born and raised in Sag Harbor, where he learned the tricks of the trade from his father, Pasquale “Pat” Trunzo, Jr. The elder Trunzo — also born in Sag Harbor — founded the company 60 years ago.
Several years ago, the younger Trunzo was approached by a friend about making a proposal for the renovation of the John Jermain Memorial Library.
“Actually, we thought about it pretty hard for a week or so to decide if we were interested, and we decided we were,” he remembers.
“We had to work to put together the proposal. It was a competitive process,” he said. “There were four builders who were considered for the project, and to our proud delight we were selected to do it.”
While renovating and expanding John Jermain is a lofty task, the company does have prior experience with local libraries.
“My father — and I worked on it during the summer — had built the addition to the East Hampton library during the ‘70s,” Trunzo remembered.
In fact, he spent much of his adolescence working side-by-side with his father, beginning at age 12 and up until his junior year of college. As a teenager, he helped his father build the Sag Harbor branch of the Suffolk County National Bank.
“I remember working on that when I was off from school during the summer. I was [attending] Pierson [Middle/High School] at that point,” he said.
Today, the business continues to keep it in the family. Two of Trunzo’s sons, Steven and Thomas, are working for the company.
“To me, it’s great because they both bring good things to the company,” he said. “We’re very happy. We’re in our third generation.”
The company has also built a number of houses in Sag Harbor, many of which were constructed when Pat Trunzo, Jr. — now retired — was still active in the company. The company has also completed a number of historic renovations, including a 1930s house on Middle Lane in East Hampton called the “Angel House.”
“The doctor building the house decided to build it during Great Depression. All the guys who worked on it said they were blessed because they had work when many people didn’t. So they called it the ‘Angel House’ because to them, it was a gift from heaven,” Trunzo said.
The company also renovated the grand ballroom of the Maidstone Club in East Hampton, which suffered a fire in the 1970s.
But John Jermain Memorial Library is, without a doubt, the largest historic renovation the Trunzos have undertaken.
“I think it’s the most significant historic restoration project we’ve been engaged on. We’ve never had to do a whole building before at once,” Trunzo said.
Still, he notes the Trunzo Building Company is up for the task. After all, John Jermain is not merely another historic building.
“It’s my original original, hometown library,” he said.