DPA progressing, meetings slated
Posted: Friday, February 26, 2010 9:06 pm
Special Features Editor
Union Citian Robert Kirkland will soon see things moving again on the grounds where Discovery Park of America is going to be built.
Kirkland, who is providing funding through the Robert E. and Jenny D. Kirkland Foundation to establish a giant education and entertainment complex across Everett Boulevard from Second Baptist Church, looked over plans for the grounds of the 50-acre complex with Ritchie Smith and Lissa Thompson of Ritchie Smith Associates in Memphis Thursday at Hampton Centré in Union City.
Despite some initial concerns with the project’s original design and its architect, work on Discovery Park of America is now moving rapidly forward under new leadership and ideas, according to a spokesman for the foundation.
Joining the Memphis-based landscape architects Thursday were Louis Sirianni, president of Verner Johnson Museum Architects and Planners, and Brad Nederhoff, managing principal with the Boston company, who are now in charge of DPA. Representatives of TLM Associates Inc. of Jackson, the civil engineering firm involved in the project, joined Kirkland, members of the foundation’s board and representatives from the botanical gardens and Yesteryear Village committees, along with the local contractors for the project, Allen Searcy Builder Contractor, at Hampton Centré.
In addition to displays of the grounds and an explanation of Phase I efforts, the group also saw initial new plans for the general layout and interior of the centerpiece museum. Sirianni said the session with local representatives added to his team’s knowledge of the museum’s interior organizational concept and will help them as they work on the exterior design for the building, which must be approved by the foundation’s executive committee before it is publicized.
That first exterior design is on tap to be revealed in April, when the Verner Johnson team will return to Union City.
Next week, members of several volunteer committees charged with deciding what will be included in the multi-million dollar project will be meeting with representatives of THINC exhibit design team from New York. Tom Hennes and his associates will present their first plans for ways to display artifacts and items of interest within the museum and various other buildings on the property and will be gaining new perspective on future work from discussions with the committees.
DPA is being completed in phases, with site work set to begin in August and some initial planting over the grounds next fall.
A project opening date of the summer of 2012 has been mentioned.
Special Features Editor Glenda Caudle may be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com
Published in The Messenger 2.26.10