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Designs for enrichment center, theater unveiled

 It took almost two years but the community task force charged with designing and directing the future of Academy Park—also known as the Old Battleground Academy campus—held their last meeting at which time plans for two buildings were submitted and unanimously approved.

With Williamson County’s library, Middle College High School and Academy Park Gymnasium already located on the grounds, the $8-$10 million public/private project will maintain the integrity and tradition of education and community. 
“This should be a public/private partnership serving a vast amount of the city and county young and old,” said County Mayor Rogers Anderson. “It’s a win-win for our community if we can put all the elements together.”
The task force’s $2.6 million estimate for renovations of historic Coverdale Hall will transform the former library into a 300-seat community theater. 
The new building will be a 25,000- square-foot Community Enrichment Center estimated to cost approximately $5.4 million.
“Just imagine, for future generations, all the things that could go on here—[with] the gym, ball fields, library, theater, community center and all the history,” said Doug Hood, who has chaired the task force. 
Facing Columbia Avenue, the exterior of the new Community Enrichment Center—a senior center and a center for children, youth and community activities—will incorporate the Fleming Hall façade design. 
Fleming Hall was built in 1904, but could not be salvaged in 2010 and was demolished. 
Designers plan to use a brick and stone veneer with a rough-faced stone base similar to the base of the former Fleming Hall. 
And, the former building’s signature door with its arched front entrance will also be captured in the new center’s architectural design. 
The proposed center would be constructed adjacent to the library, just behind the old shade tree that anchors the property.
Tucked between the high school and library, the new center will allow connectivity from one building to another by walkway.
 “We are not touching the trees along the Civil War corridor,” Hood said.
Fresh paint and repairs where needed will be included on the exterior of the original 4,500-square-foot Coverdale Hall with a 3,500-square-foot addition planned which maintains the buildings architectural integrity. 
Interior plans call for a mulit-purpose entertainment venue with theater seating, telescopic bleachers, a stage, dressing rooms and storage. 
“There are 127 things we can do in that theater,” Hood said.
An old well, located outside Coverdale, was discovered during the planning process. Plans are in place to secure it, but also incorporate it into the patio-area of the building’s main entrance.
The preliminary plans are ready, but next phase of work must begin.
“Now we’ve got to find ways to raise money for this project,” Hood said. “We need help funding this project. We need [community] support. We’ve got to come up with ways to raise some corporate funds.”
Carole Robinson can be reached at

Posted on: 1/30/2014


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