EBM = Exciting, Bold, Magnificent

By C.J. Barbre

Give EBM Design Group a rough idea of what you want, let them throw it around (or away) and they will come back with a design so incredible that it makes your jaw drop (i.e. the Wellness Center).

Having visited almost every library in Tulare County it seems safe to say that the new Lindsay branch is going to be a show stopper.

The plan was unveiled at the annual meeting of the Lindsay Cultural Arts Council and incorporates the new Lindsay Museum and Cultural Arts Center, which mirrors the library building (or vice versa).

Although the turnout for the annual meeting was small, enthusiasm was large. In attendance was Lindsay Librarian Deanna Pettus who will be eligible for retirement relatively soon. "I will stay another year if I have to. I'm going to be the first librarian in there," she said with determination. Pettus was consulted by EBM as to what would make an ideal library in her professional estimation. "They gave me everything I wanted, my story pit - everything!" she exclaimed after pouring over the plans for about 15 minutes before the actual presentation began.

Eric McConnaughey, A.I.A., gave the presentation. He started by describing the museum/cultural arts center. Because the parcel on the southwest corner of Mirage Avenue and Samoa Street, which both buildings will occupy, only measures 150 by 200 feet, the buildings were estimated to measure 4,000 square feet. The new plans have them at 7,600 square feet on one level. McConnaughey said they have designed a two-story shell so a second floor can be added at a later date, for an additional 5,000 square feet in the museum. The library will only be one floor with a two-story high ceiling. It will have three times the floor space of the present Lindsay Library. The museum will have a gift shop, a storage area and a large roll-up door so the antique American Le France fire engine can be brought in for display.

Instead of rectangles, they designed concave buildings facing on a circular courtyard. The courtyard will have 18-inch high planters for trees. The planters, along a colonnade, will also provide a seating area without the necessity of bringing in a lot of chairs. Landscape architect Bill Gurnae, who hooked up with McConnaughey while designing the landscape for Sweet Brier Plaza, stepped in to describe the landscaping.

"There's a central focal point," he said, "with a slight slope down to a central area." He showed where outdoor sculptures could most effectively be placed via the PowerPoint presentation. Gurnae said the center of the courtyard could conceivably have a stage for theater-in-the-round or outdoor concerts. "It's just a real exciting concept from an exterior perspective," he said. The courtyard space, from building to building, measures 115 feet. The pergola around the courtyard similar to the one at Sweet Brier Plaza, but round, measures 12 feet wide. It could be covered with vines or perhaps wisteria.

McConnaughey next showed the aspects of the library, which will have an adult reading room complete with a fireplace (wow), and the children's reading room on the opposite side of the building. In the children's reading room will be the reading pit, that sinks down 12-18 inches so kids can sit on the carpeted levels for story time. There will be a separate young adult area, perhaps with bean bag chairs. There will also be a 22-seat conference room and a kitchen. The librarian can see almost every square foot of the space from the circulation desk behind which will be an office and a storage room.

Gurnae said that in conjunction with developing the parcel, they plan on redeveloping the alley. "Alleys will become front doors as well," he said.

Lindsay Cultural Arts Council President Peggy Sanders said to the EBM architects, including new recruit Tim Powell, "I think the whole project will just be magnificent." In the same breath, she told arts council members, "Don't stop gathering money."

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