Landrum narrows down options for depot architect
Published 6:14 pm Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Landrum City Council members Thursday, Sept. 29 narrowed down their choices to three architects to redesign the city depot.
John Walters Architects and Brady/Trakas Architects, both of Tryon and Mark S. Eggl out of Greenville, S.C., all stood out as the council’s top selections.
The cost for the planning phase of the project comes in at $20,000, with $15,000 provided by a grant from the Polk County Community Foundation. The city paid the additional $5,000.
City Administrator Steve Wolochowicz said the total construction phase is estimated at $250,000, but that could fluctuate based on a variety of considerations. He said regardless of the final project budget, the city would attempt to seek out additional grants. What couldn’t be funded through grants would be covered by bond that would later be paid back with hospitality tax revenues.
Mayor Robert Briggs said he appreciated the hard work of the design firms that submitted proposals.
“It was real close for me,” Briggs said. “Several of the designs had elements that I really liked. But in the end we have to select one and move forward.”
Council members discussed desires for the depot to be more open and bright so it would be inviting to community members and visitors.
Proposed plans for the redesign include historic elements with modern conveniences and touches including a full kitchen, publicly accessible bathrooms, more open space and large windows to let in light.
The space is also expected to allow for the display of historic photos and artifacts of the town’s history. The designs all also included various options for a stage to either be attached or situated across from the front entrance of the building.
While council members were slightly varied in their favorite designs, most seemed to select one of the three earlier mentioned firms.
“My best shot I thought was John Walters,” said councilman Randy Wohnig. “Trakas would be a strong second because of what he did with the Tryon Depot – they did a great job over there.”
Mayor Briggs said, “I think we received several very good designs. I just think we have to ask a few more questions to make sure what we want to do is feasible financially.”
The largest aspect up for debate involved whether to replace the roofing atop the depot. The current roof was put in place almost two decades ago but is newer in style, mimicking the fire department’s roof across the street.
Some council members wanted to go ahead and replace the roof to return it to a more historically accurate look, while others believed it would be more prudent to leave the roof and save money. The roof is not currently in disrepair.
Wolochowicz said while the city is still in the very initial stages of planning for a depot remodeling, he is optimistic the project will prove beneficial for the city once everything is ironed out and work completed.
“We could lease out the depot to civic groups, but also if someone wanted to have a wedding reception there or other event they would be able to do that,” Wolochowicz said. “There aren’t a lot of other options for events in the immediate area and we could potentially gain some revenue once improvements are made. All around I think this could be a very positive thing.”