New Biloxi civic center and library taking shape

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - By Doug Walker – bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) – There are sounds of progress in east Biloxi. Dozens of construction workers play beat the clock, getting a new state of the art building ready for its 2011 unveiling.

On a tour Thursday, city officials looked around in wonder at the 72,000 square foot civic center-library complex.

Bill Raymond, Biloxi's Historic Coordinator, said despite its size, this new building will fit right in.

"It's shorter toward the street and then it gets larger and taller towards the back, so it really does blend in with the neighborhood," Raymond said. "It's situated very close to the street just like the houses in the neighborhood are. We don't want to put a sea of cars at the front of the building. We wanted the building to be a part of the neighborhood."

When and if the next Katrina decides to pay a visit to the coast, this building should still be around after the storm.  Leigh Jaunsen is the architect.

"This building meets all the wind loads, we have 12 inch steel that's re-enforced with concrete and rebar," Jaunsen said.  "The roof has all the extra steel support that's required these days, and we have impact glass in the windows. It's pretty substantial."

Officials hope once the beautiful building is complete, it will become a hub for rebuilding in east Biloxi. And that's something that hasn't happened since Katrina.

"We hope to achieve getting some economic development down here," Mayor A.J. Holloway said. "We hope to get some more people building more houses down here, some homes, because this will be a drawing card.  They can go to the library here, it will be a state of the art library and all the things that go with a library."

The civic center-library complex is scheduled to open next June. The price tag for the facility is $20 million.  Most of that money comes from FEMA grants and insurance proceeds.

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