With a population exceeding 12,000, officials in Holly Springs, NC, are turning back the clock on the town’s downtown village district. Hardhat crews have cleared the site and are putting the walls in place for a Town Hall that will hearken to the past while providing amenities for the future.
The approved building, with its modular stone base and colonial-style, hand-formed brick siding, will have a shingle hip roof giving the appearance of slate. A fiberglass cupola or tower and clock will be softly lighted at night to be seen from as far away as Raleigh, the state capital.
The site is the same as the old town hall — fronting on the corner of Main Street (NC 55) and Ballentine Street and close to both roadways. It wi11 extend 190 ft. (58 m) along NC 55 and 95 ft. (29 m) along Ballentine, complete with sidewalks.
The general contractor is Duke Construction, of Morrisville, a division of Duke Reality Corporation out of Indianapolis, IN. Project Manager Greg Jonczyk said excavation is currently underway on the basement area and building pad.
“The tightness of the area plays a role in how we’re approaching the project,” Jonczyk explained, “It’s less than an acre so we’re using only a rubber tire hoe and a truck hoe since it’s bordered by considerable traffic and people.”
In effect, the design is that of a building you might expect to find in Williamsburg, VA. A lot of planning went into the project fashioned by Little & Associates Architects of Research Triangle Park. As one town official remarked, “Eleven schemes were drawn to fulfill the desires and this was the twelfth.”
“It’s traditional architecture,” said Bryan Simpson, a member of the firm working on the plans. Simpson explained the building was designed to set the pattern for future development in the business district. Officials consider the $3.1-million structure not only as a permanent home, but also as the key to creating a pedestrian-friendly downtown. “This will enhance the feeling of being a part of a village district,” Simpson said. “The focal point of what will be developed in the years to come.”
Currently, Main Street is a major thoroughfare for heavy north-south truck traffic leading to and from Raleigh. Town officials envision a quaint downtown stretch, which would include sidewalks and shops along with the planned Town Hall. Jennifer Mizelle, the town’s economic development director, said Holly Springs hopes to encourage more private commercial development south of the new building.
Towards this end, work crews are constructing the NC 55 bypass, which is expected to divert much of the traffic now cutting through Main Street.
The contract calls for the new town hall to be completed in about a year, although Jonczyk feels it may be finished in 10 months barring unexpected complications. As for the building itself, the main entryway featuring classic precast stone columns will lead to a 500-sq.-ft. lobby with elevators.
The focal point of the lobby will be a two-story circular opening centered in the room and containing a monumental staircase with wrought-iron railings and wood risers and treads leading to the upper level. Both upper and lower lobbies will feature porcelain and tile floors. Jonczyk said other flooring throughout the building would be either 12- by 12-in. vinyl tiles or carpet.
The first level will house the engineering, planning code enforcement and finance departments — those more likely to require public access.
A second entryway to the first floor departments will be located at the rear of the building where a multi-level terrace will connect the public parking area to the building. Eventually there will be additional parking.
The three-terrace area will be enclosed in brick retaining walls and will include brick and concrete walking paths, gardens, and a 12- by 12-ft. water fountain.
The second floor of the new Town Hall will house administration, economic, development, and recreation departments, and a 3,000-sq.-ft. chambers room, along with future expansion areas. A conference room is planned just off the entry balcony and will have a view of NC 55. Simpson said the aluminum clad, wood windows throughout the building will be operable to allow fresh air to enter.