New Breaux Bridge Library will ‘knock your socks off’
What began as a dream back in 2011 is now approaching reality as the preliminary steps towards construction of a new public library in Breaux Bridge are set in motion.
After years of serving the community, with limited space and resources, the blueprints have been finalized to replace the current 4,108-square-foot structure, which has been serving the city since 1956, with one that will be three times that size at 12,558 sq. ft.
Much consideration was given by elected officials, the St. Martin Library Board, and concerned citizens, as to where the new facility was to be located. The choices were narrowed to the Rees Street area and the existing location at the corner of Courthouse and Main.
The latter site won out despite limited parking space, which was the biggest sticking point. Heavily favoring the downtown location, however, was the close proximity to area schools and the anticipated positive impact to the downtown area.
At a special meeting of the Library Board, attended by Parish President Guy Cormier and local architect Glenn Angelle, the board’s director decided that the Dewberry Architectural firm be brought on as part of the team due to their nationally renowned experience in library design. The firm was employed in the renovation of libraries in Lafayette and Baton Rouge.
In an April 2012 community meeting, Denelle Wrightson, director of library consultants with Dewberry, gave a presentation as to the latest trends in library design and solicited input from attendees as to what features would best serve the current and projected needs of the community.
With this feedback, plans were developed for the new facility which will tie in with the traditional architecture of the adjacent agriculture building.
According to Angelle, who is responsible for the exterior design, the first phase of the project, to commence shortly after the first of the year, will be to demolish the existing library as well as a part of the Ag Building, in order to accommodate the library’s larger footprint. The structure will also replace the city’s old fire and police station which faces Main Street next to the existing library. In addition, the new facility will tie in with Veterans’ Park.
Exterior features will include the construction of a 25-car parking lot behind the Ag Building, the removal of overhead utility lines, underground drainage, new sidewalks and lighting and the preservation of an existing live oak tree, which will be complimented with focused exterior lighting. While the library will feature scale, brick and roof colors similar to that of the Ag Building, modern touches will be added to give the library a fresh look and appeal.
Inside, the design will be one of contemporary functionalism that, Angelle says, “will knock your socks off!”
Charlar Brew, St. Martin Library director, says that extensive planning for the future went into the layout of the facility. Noting significant changes in how libraries are utilized, prompted planners to allocate more space to meeting and study rooms and computer labs. Much planning also went into children and reading/browsing areas.
Brew said that this will be a state-of-the-art facility which will be treasured by the citizens of St. Martin Parish, particularly the community of Breaux Bridge.
Advertising for bids is currently underway with the public bid opening and Library Board approval meetings scheduled for Oct. 24 and Nov. 4, respectively. The Oct. 24 meeting will be held at 2 p.m. at the Parish Library Headquarters located at 201 Porter St., St. Martinville.
Construction is set to begin in January 2014 with a completion date expected in early 2015. During construction the library will be temporarily relocated at 924 Rees Street in the Park Place Shopping Center near Winn Dixie.
For additional information, contact St. Martin Parish Library Director Charlar Brew at 337-394-2207 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.