Architect working on plans for Athens State science and technology center in Decatur
Decatur Daily (AL), 2014-02-20
Feb. 20--Athens State University President Bob Glenn has been unsuccessful so far in getting commitments to fund a science and technology center in Decatur.
So Decatur architect Scott Schoel is working on conceptual drawings of the proposed $10 million center for Glenn to present as he seeks support.
Glenn met this week with Schoel and Rick Paler, of the Decatur Downtown Development Authority, to discuss drawings for one of the three city-owned former Archer Daniel Midland cotton warehouses near West Moulton Street.
Glenn's proposal is a university center that provides bachelor's degrees with an emphasis in areas that would fulfill local industries' needs.
He said when he floated the idea last summer that ASU would need financial help from local industries or the city, the city offered to give Athens State the warehouses and property.
"The city indicated it would hand the deed over to us, but we told them to wait until we have the money in hand for the center," Glenn said.
Mayor Don Kyle said there's a verbal agreement the City Council would vote on giving the building to the university as soon as Glenn has a plan and the funds for it.
Wally Terry, Decatur's director of economic and community development, said a science and technology center would be a good addition to an area of Moulton Street that needs modernization.
"It's part of our Envision Decatur plan that also includes the potential of landscaping the waterway that runs through that area," Terry said.
Paler said they discussed building the center within the shell of the building.
"The shell has some character and value," Paler said. "The interior is a huge space, and it would have large, open areas."
Schoel said he is working on plans for all three buildings and the property.
Schoel said two of the buildings have about 25,000 square feet of usable area. They're 90 feet tall with a 60-degree slope to the roof. Initial drawings include four floors with classrooms and chemistry labs.
"These are huge metal buildings that once held cotton seed and grain, so they're really sturdy," Schoel said.
Paler said the seven-acre property also would need improvement. Terry said the extent of this property improvement would depend on whether Athens State wants one or two of the buildings.
Paler said the redevelopment authority is putting the proposed center on its list of projects to support.
Bayne Hughes can be reached at 256-340-2432 or email@example.com. Follow on Twitter @DD_BayneHughes.
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