Galvan adds ‘learning center’ to Armory

HUDSON—T. Eric Galloway owns at least 2% of the taxable property in this city, but until now he hasn’t named any of the buildings for himself or any of the entities he is associated with, such as Galvan Partners or the Galvan Initiatives Foundation.

That will change in 2014, the target date for opening the Galvan Community Learning Center, to be created from the Armory building on State Street between North Fifth and Short Streets.

The Hudson Area Library, scheduled to move into the Armory in 2014, will still be the “flagship” of the building, architect Vincent Benic told some two-dozen people packed into the current library’s main room December 7 for a look at the final schematic plan.

The library will be housed in the 9,500 square feet of the Armory’s former drill hall, with its soaring ceiling and 1,300-square-foot mezzanine (for a total of 11,000 square feet). The mezzanine is planned as flexible classroom space that can be used as either one large or two smaller classrooms.

A garage built onto the west side (Short Street) of the Armory in the 1950s is not worth salvaging, said Mr. Benic. It will be torn down and replaced with a three-story educational wing. How the wing’s classrooms and offices will be used has not been decided, but “the goal of education,” Mr. Benic noted, “is to add patrons to the library.”

On the east side of the drill hall, North Fifth Street, the former officers’ quarters are in very good condition, said Mr. Benic, and renovation will minimize impact on that area’s historic nature. Planned is a large community room, with a kitchen, which did not fit into the drill hall plans, and rental space for community-based organizations.

Because the library will become a destination, said Mr. Benic, it needed a new, plaza entrance, on State Street. In addition to an ADA-compliant ramp, wide stone steps are planned that could be used for outdoor classes and concerts, and on the plaza, an outdoor reading space with trees and wifi access.

As to a construction timeline, Mr. Benic said that he hoped to get a go-head from the library on these concepts, work with the library on more specific plans and make another presentation by the beginning of March 2013. Site plan approval from the city is required. The goal is to put the project out to bid in late summer 2013, for a planned for a 12-month construction period. “The project has grown,” Mr. Benic noted.

Even after its focus groups and online survey, the library board continues to welcome questions and input from library users. The library website, hudsonarealibrary.org, has a dedicated section, “Armory Project.”

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