The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
City architectural panel OKs materials for new courthouse
BY ROBYN SIDERSKY
The Fredericksburg Architectural Review Board on Monday night granted the city the final approval needed for the new courthouse that will be built downtown.
The ARB had already approved the site planning, scale and most other elements related to the new $34.5 million courthouse, which is expected to be completed at Princess Anne and Charlotte streets in May 2014. Monday night dealt with building materials.
Project architect Andrew Moore of Glavé & Holmes gave the board a detailed presentation on why each of the materials was chosen for the project. He explained why glass fiber reinforced concrete, or GFRC, was chosen for the columns over other materials including wood, metal, stone, and pre-cast concrete. The material is extremely durable. It is cement-based, requires low maintenance and meets design intent.
The board approved it to be used for the columns and cornices.
At the last meeting, the board had raised issues over the cast stone that was proposed to be used at the water table, so Moore explained the differences between it and the natural Indiana limestone. The board still liked the natural stone more, despite the fact that it cost another $26,000, and approved using it instead.
There was almost no debate over the exterior lighting proposed. Four narrow spotlights will direct light in a tight beam downward on the front of the building, and two will face upward to the mounted flagpoles.
Moore reminded the board that this needed to fall in line with the Silver LEED certification the city requested.
The board approved enclosing the dormers with louvers resembling windows.
The issue that at least two members were still unhappy with was the façade modulation. Moore had no suggestions for changes.
Board member J. Gordon Brown was not satisfied. “I find it unacceptable that especially the Princess Anne Street façade could not be adjusted any to accommodate our request from July 23, and I don’t know how else to say it. I’m opposed to the nonaction that is presented tonight—or the result of nonaction that is presented tonight—and protest it.”
Board member Kerri Barile agreed.
A final request the board had, suggested by board member Owen Lindauer, was to see if it would be possible to have more public space for benches and landscaping instead of the parking spaces in front of the courthouse.
The biggest issue the board members had was that the building will take up almost the entire footprint of the space allotted.
Robyn Sidersky: 540/374-5413