Library project headed for bid

Published 9:51 pm Friday, February 25, 2011

The excitement in the conference room was palpable on Friday.

As a trio of city officials, representatives of the Troy Public Library Board and library director William White huddled over a stack of plans being offered by architect Chuck Jones, the mayor offered a comment.

“I commended the library board when you selected William and I commend y’all in working with him through this process,” Mayor Jimmy Lunsford said. “To bring us something we can be extremely proud of, and keep it within budget, is impressive.”

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The group gathered Friday morning was reviewing final plans for the new Troy Public Library to be constructed on the site of the old Troy High School on Elm Street.

With a maximum budget of $4 million, funded through a city bond issue, White and Jones have been working to develop a state-of-the-art library that meets today’s needs as well as provides expansion opportunities for the future. And, most important White said, the library is “a part of Troy. This library is custom-designed for the people of Troy, and we’re very proud of that.”

Making the library a part of Troy includes utilizing bricks and materials from the old Troy High School, which is being demolished to make way for the new library. In an effort to hearken to that building, the new library’s façade offers a similar feel.

“I put a picture of the old high school next to this elevation and they look very, very similar,” White said.

And to further unite the two, White said he plans to use bricks and materials from the old high school in the design of a reading garden.

“We had thought bout putting an amphitheatre on the grounds, but we decided that a better idea would be to create a reading garden, incorporating the old brick.,” Jones said.

The garden, which is White’s brainchild, will be adjacent to the children’s area of the library and will offer a lighted and landscaped outdoor space filled with seating and gathering areas, all geared toward inspiring people to sit and read. “We’re going to offer seating and proper shading for a child to go out and read and play, all within the safe confines of the library facility,” he said.

A sidewalk and pedestrian area will provide access from the library to Academy Street, and the new facility will offer parking for 50 patrons.

However, the plans as designed offer ample opportunity for growth and expansion, from room for additional parking facilities to the ability to add on to the library structure itself, without interrupting the workflow of the library. “That’s important for the future,” White said.

With the blessings of the Troy Council’s Executive Committee members and the library board, Jones said the project will be advertised within a week, and bids likely received by March 29. The bid could be awarded as soon as April 12.

“We’ve got 210 calendar days in the bid,” Jones said, explaining the timeline to the group.