Several years ago, lot 51, a full half acre lot adjoining the library on the south (Bowie Street side) came up for sale. The property, containing a large duplex, garage apartment, two outbuildings, and a three car garage was known to Columbus natives as the “Braden house.” This listing presented a one-time opportunity for the NMLF board members. They realized that if the Nesbitt were to ever expand, they would need to purchase the lot and dwellings. The board seized upon it, although their reserves were not sufficient to cover the full cost of the purchase. A loan was procured from Columbus State Bank and the duplex and garage apartment were rented out to help defray the costs. In August of 2016, the board was happy to announce that the note had been paid in full. By August of that same year, the board had the duplex and garage apartment demolished in order to prepare for the Phase 2.
The NMLF board has now partnered with Lake/Flato Architectural Firm for the “discovery” phase under a special outreach program they term as the 1% Program.
Who is Lake/ Flato?
Lake/Flato with headquarters in San Antonio is internationally acclaimed for buildings that respond organically to the natural and historical environment. The firm uses local materials and workmanship to design buildings that are tactile, modern, original, and artfully designed. Lake/Flato has won more than 270 national and state design awards. F.W. Flato, grandfather of the principal, David and Ted Flato helped organize the neighboring town of Flatonia in 1874. For more information on this stellar architectural firm, visit their website at https://www.lakeflato.com/
What is the 1% Program?
The Flato family, with deep roots in rural Texas, has led them to offer a program with small town libraries in mind. Under this program, the firm will do all the design work in exchange for 1% of the costs. Lake /Flato does this with no strings attached. This is clearly a win-win proposition for those communities that wish to structure altruistic and new projects with limited financial outlay. Lake/FLato will also guide the NMLF through the fund-raising phase once the design is in place.
The board feels that the partnership with Lake/ Flato is an exciting development for the Nesbitt Library, but even more so for the City of Columbus and all of Colorado County.
EXAMPLES of fine architectural design work by Lake/Flato: City of Medina Texas Public Library & Event Center; Sunshine Cottage School for the Deaf, San Antonio; Harry Ransom Center, Austin.
Planning for the future: Center front: Lake/Flato Architect Ryan Yaden; NMLF Jim Kearney; Drymalla Contractor Travis P. Wegenhoft; NMLF Kenneth Wegenhoft; NMLF Tracey Wegenhoft; Library Director Susan Chandler
Revised Layout of the Renovation Project Below
Colorado County Citizen Newspaper article on the Nesbitt Memorial Library Expansion Project 12/2017