Team OKs library plan

An arbitration team reached agreement Thursday on the design of the proposed $24 million Augusta Regional Library, paving the way for the project to move forward.

The Augusta-Richmond County Historic Preservation Commission had voted Tuesday not to approve the design created by Craig Gaulden Davis architectural firm of Greenville, S.C., and Dee Beaird of Studio 3 Design in Augusta.

The matter then went into arbitration, with Planning Commission Director George Patty mediating, according to Gary Swint, the director of the East Central Georgia Regional Library.

The historic preservation board wanted the building to blend in more with others on James Brown Boulevard.

The compromise calls for the use of darker red bricks instead of clay-colored in part of the building and a tan band of masonry instead of white around the top, Mr. Swint said.

Mr. Swint called the changes "perfectly acceptable."

"We were trying to make a bold statement about the library of tomorrow, but we don't want to be perceived as being in conflict with historic preservation," he said.

Historic commission members voted 4-2 Tuesday against approving the design after viewing computer-generated images of the building on James Brown Boulevard between Greene and Telfair streets.

Thursday's compromise should allow the 90,000-square-foot project to advance on schedule. Preservation commission Chairman Mark Lorah and member Allen Venable were authorized to approve the design if a suitable compromise were reached.

Reach Sylvia Cooper at (706) 823-3228 or sylvia.cooper@augustachronicle.com.