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News 12 First at Five, May 1, 2008
AUGUSTA, Ga.---The future of land slated for the new Augusta library is coming into focus. After the Historic Preservation Commission rejected the original architectural design...a little time behind closed doors ushered in a compromise.
"We're very happy. We hope the Historical Preservation Commission (HPC) is happy also," said Gary Swint who is director of the Augusta library.
"I am very happy. I did not want to see this project held up," said Mark Lorah who is chair of the HPC.
A 2 million dollar grant was on the line if the library failed to meet a 2010 deadline. "If we were delayed even by a matter of a few weeks it will be almost impossible to meet that deadline," said Swint.
"That is actually one of the reasons that we knew we had to address this, and it was very important to addresses this because we don't get projects like this everyday," said Lorah.
No matter how you read into it...it's a new chapter for the library. On one side of the street is the old 30,000 sq. ft. structure, and on the other side of the street...a new 90,000 sq. ft. structure is planned.
"This is much larger than we can ever dream of," said Mashell Fashion who is assistant director of the library.
The HPC calls warmer earth tone bricks, and a greener more inviting landscape minor changes that make all the difference. They say the previous design was too modern and lacking in southern charm.
"There's history all over the place, and so we were very concerned that this building would fit in there," said Lorah.
Architects say...not to worry. "We got a few changes to make. We're gonna make them right away, and get this project out...out for bid so we can move forward," said Dee Bearrd.
This is a $24 million project. That $2 million we mentioned is grant money from the state.