So how will the new Seminole Heights Branch Library compare to the current one?
Can you say “night and day?”
The Friends of the Seminole Heights Library held a general meeting Monday night at the library for the unveiling of designs and renderings of the proposed new library. Bill Hand, project manager for Hillsborough County's facilities management services, said the current library, at 6,000 square feet with 18 parking spaces, will be replaced with a two-story, 22,000-square-foot facility with 62 parking spaces.
But beyond those numbers, Hand said several factors from the surrounding neighborhood influenced the new library's design. “It's trying to play off of some of the civic buildings in the neighborhood,” said Hand. “You see a little of the Craftsman-style bungalow referenced, and also Hillsborough High School and (Seminole Heights United) Methodist Church. Also the (Seminole Heights) Garden Center with the brick and the heavily mullioned windows. We kind of repeated that with this building.”
Hand added that the county also collaborated with the City of Tampa's zoning department to make the new library's design comply with the city's soon-to-be-adopted form-based-codes. Form-based codes essentially regulate development based on the physical form of a property or project, rather than its land use. Hand said the new plans will “encourage on-street parking, parking behind the building, and lots of windows facing the street.”
All of these factors will make for a stark contrast to the low-slung, International-styled architecture of the current library, which opened in 1965.
Hand said the project will cost $6.9 million, with $78,000 of that earmarked for a public art commission that will yield stained glass windows for the front of the building. Those will be another nod to Hillsborough High, Hand said.
The new library was designed by prominent Tampa architect Sol Fleischman Jr., of Fleischman Garcia architecture firm.
Construction will start in mid-summer, and should by mid-to-late summer 2013, according to hand.
What do you think of the new library design? Will it fit in with the historic ambiance of the neighborhood? Tell us in the comments below.