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Waccamaw Library: Firm will draft concepts for new branch

By Jackie R. Broach
Coastal Observer

Tych & Walker Architects of Murrells Inlet was selected this week to create the architectural models and designs to be used in fundraising efforts for a new Waccamaw Library.

A 10-member committee comprised of library staff, board members and members of Friends of the Waccamaw Library heard presentations from three firms Wednesday in Litchfield.

Along with Tych and Walker, SGA Architecture of Pawleys Island and ADW Architects of Charlotte were interviewed. The firms were rated on 10 factors, including creative ideas and solutions, qualifications and projected time to complete work.

“Tych & Walker ranked first in every category we scored them on,” said Dwight McInvaill, the Georgetown County library director.

Tych & Walker was also the low bidder. They presented an estimate of $18,000. The other bids were about $10,000 higher.

The county’s capital improvement plan calls for construction of a $6 million Waccamaw Library to begin in 2013. The Friends group is tasked with raising $2.6 million, which must be on hand before construction can start.

The county will hire a professional fundraiser, but visuals that will create public interest are needed.

McInvaill emphasized that the drawings created will only be used for fundraising. The architect for the building will be selected through a separate process to take place “in a year or so,” he said.

The new library will be built on 2 acres on Willbrook Boulevard between the Waccamaw Higher Education Center and Waccamaw Intermediate School. It is projected to have 27,000 square feet in two stories, though Michael Walker, who presented the plan for Tych & Walker, had several ideas for layout. One showed a single-story design that would be possible if the county bought a neighboring parcel.

He said he wanted the committee to see all the possibilities, which at this point are almost endless.

Public meetings will take place to get community input on the library, which will factor into the designs.

The committee is looking for a design that “embodies the Lowcountry,” McInvaill told architects, and they came prepared with plans that call for wide porches, pitched roofs and dormers.

Presentations from the firms also called for a design that would let in plenty of natural light and be easily adaptable for the library’s future needs and changing technology.

Walker said a library is a place where civic and social interaction occur, and that should be conveyed in the designs. He mentioned large windows, where people on the outside can look in and see all the activity occurring inside.

Tych & Walker also designed the Carvers Bay Library and the recently-completed judicial center.

The library board has endorsed building the new facility to meet Leadership in Energy and Design certification requirements. LEED is a green building rating system and if the library achieves one of its certification levels, it would be the first public library in the state to do so.

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