JASPER — The public can now have its first look at the designs for the upcoming Jasper Cultural Center.
Jasper native and City Properties Group architect Ashlyn Ackerman presented Thursday to the Jasper Public Library Board the preliminary designs for the project that will merge the Jasper Arts Center and Jasper Public Library in one location at the old Hoosier Desk site at the corner of Mill Street and Third Avenue. The building’s main entrance will be off Third Avenue, with the library’s wing closest to the Patoka River and the arts’ wing on Mill Street. The total project is estimated at $12 million.
“I’m excited about it,” said Library Board President Dean Vonderheide.
The current designs are similar to those released in November 2016 when the Jasper Library was working to pass the referendum to fund their portion of the project, but with two major changes. City Properties Group, the Louisville-based private developer partnering on the project, has decided not to pursue a housing element. With River Center going in across the street near the Jasper Train Depot and the housing component there, City Properties felt there would be sufficient housing in the area. The other major change is a reduction in square footage. The current design is about 1,120 square feet smaller than the design released in 2016. The square footage reduction will lessen the project cost.
Ackerman said the team heard people were concerned about how the building would look compared to the rest of the city, and she assured that they looked at the aesthetic around Jasper when choosing building materials, and the final project will match the brick and wood traditionally used in Jasper.
“We were very sensitive in looking at the materials of Jasper,” she said.
The exterior of the building will be constructed from brick, stacked stone, and wood-look cladding, according to Ackerman’s presentation.
On the inside, luxury vinyl tile that mimics wood will be placed on floors, as will carpeting. High, metal grid ceilings will preserve the industrial look of the current Hoosier Desk building. The grid ceilings will allow for easy access to mechanical systems and flexibility with the lighting because fixtures can be easily moved around. Suspended acoustical tiles below the grid will help hide the mechanical systems and highlight special areas of the building, such as the children’s area.
While designs for the arts department’s wing of the building were not discussed Thursday, Arts Board President Mike Jones attended the meeting. He pointed out that the same building materials and basic designs will be used in the arts wing.
“If you go from (the arts) side to (the library) side, it’ll look like the same building, just a different purpose,” Jones said.
On the library side, several meeting and group study rooms are in the plans. The adult and children’s programming rooms will be side by side with a collapsible wall between them that can be opened for larger programs. There will also be a mezzanine level with a rooftop deck accessible by both elevator and stairs.
“We’re hoping more people would use the stairs if possible,” Ackerman said. “It’s going to be a very nice stair.”
Under the stairs, reading nooks will be built into the wall.
As in the November 2016 designs, the main entrance and the back entrance will lead into the atrium, an open, high ceilinged space with lots of windows to let in natural light. That area is planned to be an event space that community members can rent. It will have a drive-up entrance in both the front and the back to facilitate caterers and other event needs.
The library will post the designs on its website, www.jdcpl.lib.in.us, for public viewing, and Ackerman will present the designs to the arts commission board at its regularly scheduled meeting at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 2, at City Hall, 610 Main St. The public is welcome to attend the arts meeting or to contact Library Director Christine Golden at 812-482-2712 or Arts Department Director Kyle Rupert at 812-482-3070 with questions about the design.
“If people have questions, now is the time,” Golden said.
The library and arts boards will come together at 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 11, in City Hall to vote on the designs and move the project into the construction document phase. Deconstruction of the Hoosier Desk building is scheduled for February.