The new Georgetown County library branch in Litchfield is envisioned to be the “cultural heart” of the Waccamaw Neck.
Michael Walker, of Tych & Walker, the firm hired to design the new building, gave an update on the progress of his work at the Friends of the Waccamaw Library’s First Thursday program last week.
Walker spoke in general terms about the new facility, which will be called The Library Center – Waccamaw, because specific plans have yet to be approved by Georgetown County library director Dwight McInvaill.
The new library on Willbrook Boulevard will have a Lowcountry feel, with lots of windows to let in light and make people feel connected to the outside.
Walker said certain types of furnishings – such as bookcases with wheels – enhance flexibility.
Desks and bookcases with attached lights decrease the need for light fixtures in ceilings, helping to cut down on energy costs.
There will likely be places directly outside the building for people to utilize, and a path connecting the facility to Waccamaw Intermediate School.
One concern with outside space is parking. Walker said the library’s parking lot will probably have about 85 spaces. Overflow parking when events are held at the library’s auditorium would be at the intermediate school and at Coastal Carolina University’s Waccamaw Higher Education Center, which is across St. Pauls Place.
Those plans could change, however, as the Higher Education Center is currently for sale.
The most important concern about parking is to keep St. Pauls Place clear for Midway Fire and Rescue to access Willbrook Boulevard.
The one thing that has been decided is that the facility will be one story. Constructing a two-story building would require more money be spent on the foundation, something the county does not want to do.
There would be issues with increased staffing and spending more money to make a second story hurricane proof.
The site of the new library has expanded to 4 and half acres after a land swap with the Georgetown County School District. However, McInvaill said about 20 percent of the land is unusable because of wetlands issues.
The Georgetown County Library has about $3.2 million to build the new facility. More money could be forthcoming if a one-cent sales tax is approved by county residents in a referendum in November.
The Friends group, which pays for the children’s librarian and other services above and beyond what the county budgets for, is trying to raise another $1 million.
The money the Friends collect would be used for an auditorium and catering kitchen; a Heritage Center and Gallery for local archives, cultural activities and exhibits; computers and other essential 21st century technology; as well as a separate space to encourage learning among young adults.
For more information about the new library, or to make a donation, contact Kim Fox at 843-979-0561 or TLCWaccamaw@gmail. com.
By Chris Sokoloski
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