PARIS The public can get a look at draft designs of the new main branch of the County of Brant Public Library at an open house on Feb. 6.
A presentation by the library and DPAI Architecture Inc. will start at 7 pm the Brant Sports Complex, 944 Powerline Rd. Showcased will be the draft concepts of the exterior and interior of the new branch, which is part of the restoration of the historic Paris Old Town Hall, now known as the Bawcutt Centre.
“The proposed design strikes a perfect balance between restoration of the original Gothic Revival-style building and a modern library,” said Kathryn Carter, chair of the Bawcutt Center advisory committee. “We are so excited to share this concept with the community. The new main branch library will be an incredible resource for county residents and preserves a significant piece of our cultural heritage.”
The open house will allow the public to meet with members of the project steering group and the architects and give feedback on the proposed designs.
A recording of the open house presentation and the designs will be available on the library’s website at brantlibrary.ca/newmainbranch. The public can submit online feedback throughout February.
Pending Brant County council approval of the final project design and budget, construction is expected to begin this year.
The Bawcutt Center at 13 Burwell St. in Paris is one of the oldest civic Gothic buildings in Canada. The original structure was built in 1854 and consists of a basement, two floors and a bell tower. A one-storey addition was constructed on the side of the building in 1870. In 1954, the Mary Maxim Co. purchased the property and, in 1964, added a two-storey addition.
In recent years, community initiatives to save, preserve and repurpose the building have evolved.
In 2015, council entered into a gifting agreement with Skystone Media’s CEO Linda Schuyler to secure a $1-million donation toward the acquisition and restoration of the centre.
The building was renamed the Bawcutt Center in honor of Schuyler’s father, Jack Bawcutt, who is a former mayor of the Town of Paris.
The property was acquired in 2016 and the Bawcutt Center advisory committee was formed. In 2020, the former Paris Town Hall was designated a national historic site.
The County of Brant Public Library serves the County of Brant with five branches, in Paris, Burford, Glen Morris, Scotland-Oakland and St. George, and a mobile library and 24/7 book lending kiosk in Onondaga.