The City of Lawrenceville and Gwinnett County entered into an Intergovernmental Agreement to create a new themed library as part of the Gwinnett County Public Library system at the site of the former Hooper-Renwick School, Gwinnett's only African-American public school for decades.
The agreement was formally approved at the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners Meeting on December 15 and at the Lawrenceville City Council meeting in December.
"The preservation of the Hooper-Renwick School is the capstone of the SouthLawn development," said Mayor David Still. "We are delighted to see this important piece of our community's history preserved. This is local government at its very best - a creative partnership between city and county sparked by a dedicated committee of community volunteers."
"The new Lawrenceville branch of the Gwinnett Public Library will be the first themed library in the Southeast," said Gwinnett District 4 Commissioner Marlene Fosque. "As a themed library, it will incorporate cultural and historic objects and artifacts with the library's resources and information to benefit the patrons it serves. The new library will encourage people of today to learn about the history of segregation and desegregation in Gwinnett County through the stories, accomplishments and personal items from people who attended the Hooper-Renwick School in years past. I am truly excited about the creative and educational opportunities this presents and am grateful for the collaboration between the County, the city, and residents to make this happen."
Gwinnett County will utilize the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) to fund construction costs and the City of Lawrenceville will provide the land, 3.8 acres, at no cost. The approximately 25,000 square foot themed library will preserve and honor the legacy of the former Hooper-Renwick School through architectural design elements, exhibits about the school's history, as well as segregation and desegregation in Gwinnett County. Both the City and County will fund the construction and operation of the exhibits. Details of the new facility are:
· The library will be constructed by renovating 11,400 square feet of the existing facility and constructing a new approximately 13,600 square foot addition, which will include a second-floor entrance facing Neal Boulevard.
· Twenty original windows on the front façade of the original building will be restored to their original appearance.
· Architectural design elements of the Hooper-Renwick School will be incorporated into the Library design.
· The building will meet the minimum LEED standard of "certified" as defined by the U.S. Green Building Council.
· The new Library will include approximately 1,500 square feet of community space, accommodating approximately 100 people and equipped with a sink and counter space for food preparation.
· The County will be responsible for the management of the new facility.
Gwinnett County plans to designate a liaison to serve as the "Interpretive Resources Project Coordinator" to assist the HRLPC with the collection of artifacts, coordinate educational messages, associated programming and interpretive displays used to showcase artifacts, and develop and implement strategic initiatives.
"We are very pleased that the creation of the Hooper-Renwick Library has passed one of its last major hurdles with the signing of this agreement," said Joyce Moore, vice chair of the Hooper-Renwick Legacy Preservation Committee. "Our committee is delighted and poised to continue the essential work of designing education programs and acquiring artifacts to make the vision we've nurtured for the last four years a reality."
The members of the Hooper-Renwick Legacy Preservation Committee are: Theresa Bailey, Chair; Constance Brown; Marlene Taylor-Crawford; Ronald Dunnigan; Gary Glenn; Rory Johnson; Greg Lott; John Maxey; Joyce Moore, Vice-Chair; Rubye Neal; Gwendolyn Brown Taylor; Vivian Summerour-Daniel.
According to County officials, the existing Lawrenceville branch of the Gwinnett County Public Library system, located at 1001 Lawrenceville, Highway, will be used for administrative offices