Design for new library will change

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The architects for Augusta's new downtown library said Wednesday they will head back to the drawing board after a morning meeting with critics who want a different look for the proposed facility.

Plans for the new Augusta-Richmond County library will be redesigned after a meeting criticizing the $22 million project.  Special
Special
Plans for the new Augusta-Richmond County library will be redesigned after a meeting criticizing the $22 million project.

Complaints about the design of the proposed $22 million building at James Brown Boulevard between Greene and Telfair streets prompted Jane Howington, the chairwoman of the East Central Georgia Regional Library Board, to call the meeting.

She said she was worried the public debate over the building's design might limit the success of a capital campaign to raise $3 million needed to complete the project.

Wednesday's meeting lasted an hour and 40 minutes and involved several community leaders, including Historic Augusta Executive Director Erik Montgomery, Augusta Historic Preservation Commission Chairman Mark Lorah, Augusta Tomorrow Chairman Robert Osborne and others.

At its end, David Dickson, of the Craig Gaulden Davis architectural firm of Greenville, S.C., said he would take what he had heard from the meeting, make some modifications to the exterior design and meet again with the library board, Mr. Montgomery, Mr. Lorah and Mr. Osborn, to see whether the changes address their concerns.

The Historic Preservation Commission initially rejected the library's design and is still not satisfied with it, although they reluctantly approved it after some concessions were made, such as brick color.

Much of Wednesday's criticism focused on the black marble entrance and the design that will face Greene Street.

The preservation board and other agencies also complained they were not involved in the process until the design was complete.

Mr. Osborne said anything the architects do to change the exterior will help at this point.

"I think tweaking it will help you," he said.

Mr. Montgomery said he was baffled that the design had been "out there this long in this form."

Library Director Gary Swint said he had not known that the design had to be approved by the historic preservation board.

"Nobody from the city told me that until just a casual remark about a month before the meeting," he said. "I apologize for that. It never occurred to me to get anyone else involved. I'm sorry."

Mrs. Howington said the project has been in the works for five years and has been discussed openly, but no one seemed to have any objections until the 11th hour before the bidding and construction are scheduled to start.

She said the board is under time and money restraints with a deadline for receiving a $2 million grant from the state.

"We as the library board are reaching out in a conciliatory way to bring the community together," she said. "We want to build the very best building possible to be admired by the most people possible. And I think we had a good consensus here. We've got a few little things to work on, but I think it's going to work."

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

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pointstoponder
1014
Points
pointstoponder 05/22/08 - 06:00 am
0
0
Design by committee and

Design by committee and opinion polls. We'll certainly get an award winning design now. The current design is fine. What exactly is the context? Within a three block radius you have many different contextual architectural styles. Which is the preferred?

justsoyaknow
3
Points
justsoyaknow 05/22/08 - 06:02 am
0
0
Different entities complained

Different entities complained because they were not involved! The judicial center that started about 7 years ago still hasn't broken ground.Keep up the consistency and maintain that infamous image, Augusta!

paulwheeler
137
Points
paulwheeler 05/22/08 - 06:37 am
0
0
One more board. Who are these

One more board. Who are these poeple, what are their qualifications and why are they allowed to cost me money? Ignore these "boards" and build the building. It looks much better than the moon pie judicial center and no one seems to complain about that.
Forget egos and personal opinions and let's move forward.

Felix
0
Points
Felix 05/22/08 - 06:45 am
0
0
This project got off track

This project got off track because of the stubborness of the Library Board. Their insistence on unneeded land acquisition delayed the project by a year and ate away at the budget, while the Library Board's intransigence about reducing the building size to the programmed amount sealed the building's fate. That is a recipe for cost overruns and cheap architecture.

karmakills123
8
Points
karmakills123 05/22/08 - 07:03 am
0
0
Just build the damn thing!

Just build the damn thing! ANY building design would improve the look of that area!

sjgraci
2
Points
sjgraci 05/22/08 - 10:07 am
0
0
save the toaster!!!

save the toaster!!!

JohnnyYuma
0
Points
JohnnyYuma 05/22/08 - 11:03 am
0
0
Let's just put a Budweiser

Let's just put a Budweiser bottle on top and hillbillies will come for miles around! Done deal!

RogerThornhill
0
Points
RogerThornhill 05/22/08 - 11:28 am
0
0
still going to be ugly

still going to be ugly

agacitzen
0
Points
agacitzen 05/22/08 - 03:30 pm
0
0
Where was Historic Augusta

Where was Historic Augusta when the current Board of Education Building was approved? What 'style' is it? Augusta is not Williamsburg. It is closer to Disney World due to all the characters in it. Instead of getting rid of the old gas station across from the current library maybe Historic Augusta would like to preserve it. Maybe put a dome and some columns on it.

pointstoponder
1014
Points
pointstoponder 05/22/08 - 04:24 pm
0
0
Any architectural style

Any architectural style (whatever it is) was controversial at one point in time. Augusta, where moving forward is never an option.

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