By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN
BG Independent News
By this time next year, the Veterans Building and Girl Scout Building in Bowling Green City Park may be reduced to piles of rubble. In their place a new building will be constructed.
The community got a sneak peak at the new City Park building plans Tuesday evening. The drawings were displayed in the stifling heat of the Veterans Building, and portrayed a design much different than the existing structure.
The new building won’t be unbearable in the heat, it won’t have cracks in the walls, it won’t have crumbling blocks, and it won’t have mold on the ceiling.
“It’s an idea whose time has come,” said Bob Callecod. “I’m very impressed with the design.”
The new building will incorporate design elements of the historic depot at the park entrance and Needle Hall which stands next to the Veterans Building.
“This building will add so much vitality,” Callecod said. “It will be a wonderful view as you come into the park.”
Joan Callecod appreciated the flexibility of space in the new building, which includes a catering kitchen.
“It’s very attractive,” she said.
Citizens look at new building plans. The new building is estimated to cost $4.5 million – with that price including furnishing, landscaping and moving of the depot building to another location.
The city parks and recreation department will not be seeking new money for the project, explained Kristin Otley, director of the department.
“It did not make sense to keep pouring money into these buildings,” she said. The city passed a park and rec levy recently, with the thought of using some of those funds to pay off bonds for the new building.
“We’re not asking for additional money for this,” Otley said.
Plans for the new building were presented by Larry Rancour, of Schorr Architects. Following are some details of the project:
The park entrance will be squared off on Conneaut Avenue. The number of parking spaces for the building will increase from 37 to 137. Efforts will be made to save as many trees as possible. “We want to keep the majority of the trees,” Rancour said. The Depot building near the entrance of the park will be relocated. The new building will be 12,000 square feet, compared to the current 5,700 square feet in the Veterans Building. A large meeting room will be able to accommodate 250 people. Two smaller meeting rooms will be able to seat 64 each. The building will feature large windows and a patio off the large meeting room. The overall concept of the building is based on Needle Hall and the Depot. There will be a delivery entrance for catering, a warming kitchen, and a serving window. Stone from the Girl Scout Building fireplace may be used as the base for a raised stage in the large meeting room. One room will be set aside for teen activities. An office is planned with space for three employees. LEED energy efficiency will be part of the design.
Citizens gather in Veterans Building to hear about new building plans. Otley said the building will not forget the history of the site. Plans are being made to reflect the park’s past.
“We anticipate kind of paying homage to what came before,” she said.
Because the existing buildings are used for summer park and rec programs, plans call for the construction to begin in the middle of August 2018, with no rentals accepted after a certain date. Otley is hopeful the project can be completed before the summer of 2019.
“I think the plans are great. I was taken aback,” when he first saw the plans, Nathan Eberly said. “It really raises the profile of Bowling Green.”
The new building will give city residents another possibility for meetings and celebratory events. “Now the community has another option and it can be a very affordable option.”
Park board president Jeff Crawford agreed.
“I think it’s fantastic – a great addition for our community,” Crawford said. “I love that it’s going to be air conditioned.”
The plans for the new City Park building will now be on display in the lobby of the community center for people to view.