North Huntsville Public Library
As an adaptive re-use project, the North Huntsville Public Library is located in the former Berachuh Academy building. The highly utilitarian building was traditional to most multi-story educational construction projects of that period. It consisted of interior and exterior CMU (concrete masonry unit) load bearing walls and was clad with a modular masonry units. The structure consisted of long span concrete tees and a wood trussed roof. The building was originally constructed without air conditioning and minimal natural light was provided. Egress issues had to be addressed to meet current codes. An elevator tower was required to prepare for future renovation, occupation of the upper level, and to address accessibility issues. In order to remove the bulky existing CMU walls and create this openness within the interior space, a new steel column and beam system was installed to support the second floor. Once the new structure was installed, the contractor was able to remove a majority of the first floor concrete block walls that previously held up the second floor structure. Two of three new additions were constructed on the north and south sides of the existing structure. These additions created additional floor space and allowed for large expanses of glass that could not have otherwise been provided under the original structure. The existing low ceiling areas were used to house book stacks, programming spaces, learning centers, study spaces, and office space while the new third addition was used to create a grand main entrance vestibule, lobby, and large open spaces for reading. A new multi-purpose community room with its own entrance for after-hours use was also provided. In conjunction with the building renovation, a large park was created within the open landscape behind the building. An existing basketball gym was renovated, as well as the implementation of pickle ball courts, three playgrounds, multiple covered pavilions and a walking track for the local community. The outcome was a large multi-use community building and park that has enhanced the quality of life for those that live around the area. Fuqua & Partners feels privileged to be part of the overall design process and to have the opportunity to be involved with this community.