Architects selected for new library

COVINGTON - The Newton County Library Board of Trustees has selected the architectural firm that will design and oversee construction of the planned Porter Memorial Branch Library.

At its July 16 meeting, the board chose Craig Gaulden Davis Inc. out of nine architectural firms that responded to a request for proposal advertised in March.

The group was narrowed to four finalists, with library board members spending the last three months reviewing bid documents, hearing presentations and conducting interviews. Each of the finalists was rated based on cost, presentation and capability.

Craig Gaulden Davis Inc. gave an estimated cost of $499,240, but the final contract has not been negotiated, according to Newton County Library Director Greg Heid.

"The firm is also designing new library buildings in Athens (and) Augusta and designing an addition and renovation of the current library in Tifton, Georgia," Heid said. "All three public library directors of these library systems gave me an enthusiastic and positive recommendation for Craig Gaulden Davis Inc. when I called to check on their projects. I am quite pleased with the Library Board's selection and I cannot wait to begin the design phase to construct the Porter Memorial Branch Library."

Based in Greenville, S.C., Craig Gaulden Davis Inc. is an award-winning and recognized leader in library planning and design, according to a press release issued by the Library Board. The firm is responsible for the planning and design of more than 2 million square feet of library space and has 12 libraries in the design phase or under construction in nine counties throughout Georgia and South Carolina, including the addition and renovation of the Nancy Guinn Library in Rockdale County.

District 2 Commissioner Earnest Simmons praised the board for selecting the firm.

"The Library Board has done a fantastic job of selecting a first-rate architectural firm that the citizens of Newton County can be proud of. We are looking forward to enjoying the results of their work in the near future," Simmons said.

The library will be constructed on Ga. Highway 212 between Oak Hill Elementary School and the Oak Hill Fire Station.

The total cost is $5,014,286, with $3 million funded by impact fees; $2 million through a state grant and the remaining money through private donations.

At 18,000 square feet, the library will be slightly more than half the size of the Covington branch. The facility will include adult, children and teen books; magazines; newspapers; DVDs; books on tape; a children's room; reference area; a teen room; a quiet reading room; study rooms; a meeting room and computers with internet access.

Construction is slated to start in early 2009, with the library to open in summer 2010.

The facility will be built to LEEDS (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards, meaning it will be environmentally friendly.

The LEEDS certification program awards points for various energy saving "green" techniques applied during construction.

The new library will have a lighting system that automatically dims lights when the sun is bright and increases light when the sun is setting or has moved to another part of the building, among other features, Heid said.

As much as possible, it will be constructed from post-consumer recycled construction materials, including recycled carpet. The plan is also to make use of more natural materials, such as bamboo for the floors, and to use paint with low-emitting fumes.

Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com.