By Rick Hinton
A community meeting was held July 18, as the new West Perry Branch Library came closer to reality. The gathering was held at the Southport Branch Library with project architects, Lisa Gomperts from Schmidt Associates, and Kevin Kennedy from HBM. This was the third and final engagement meeting focusing upon design and function of the future campus. The room filled quickly.
Peggy Wehr, future manager of the West Perry Branch, kicked off the meeting promptly at 7 p.m., re-introducing Lisa to a crowd familiar with her from the previous two meetings. Lisa briefly recapped what they took from the sessions in March and June, highlighting the community’s priority items: modern aesthetics, natural materials and a lot of glass!
Kennedy followed up with a layout of the physical design of the property and building. “How do you turn all of your good ideas into a building?” he asked. He proceeded to show the audience just how, beginning with the parking layout funneling into the SW entry plaza. “Libraries like to be seen … to be visible from Harding Street,” he said. It will be. The exterior wood, brick and storefront glass is an introduction to the interior, containing spaces for everyone: services for children, teens and adults; computers and new technologies; a large community meeting room and group study rooms; access to library services and collections. A drive-up drop box for returns brought a cheer across the room.
The $9.2 million branch near Harding Street and Southport Road will continue to be tweaked in its design and development phase until it is put out for bid early next year. Construction on the 25,000 square foot facility will start in the spring of 2020, with the goal of completion by May 2021.