Brigham Young Academy, Provo
It was only in 1997 when bulldozers were poised to level the historic Brigham Young Academy in Provo. Since then a lawsuit, a bond election, a down-to-the-wire fundraising effort, and amazing community vision have transformed the vacant and dilapidated Brigham Young Academy into Provo's new state-of-the-art library.
The ambitious goal of this adaptive use project was to create a highly-functional public library using the historic footprint of the Academy Building. A Library Construction Oversight Committee, appointed by Mayor Stewart and chair by Mayor Billings oversaw all the phases of design and construction.
Careful attention was given to restoring the Academy Buildings exterior. The bell tower was lifted off the roof and refurbished. Each exterior brick was inspected and, if needed, replaced with an historic brick in better condition. The roof's red metal shingles are the same color and design as the originals. They were even manufactured by the same company that made the original shingles over 100 years ago.
To bring the Academy up to code and address seismic concerns, the interior walls were reinforced with shotcrete and the floors were rebuilt in concrete and steel. Historic interior elements, like the case iron pillars in this ballroom and stained glass windows, were refurbished and reinstalled whenever possible. Other features, like the tile and woodwork on the second and third floors, imitate the building's original finishes.
The new wing of the building, required to meet the library's growing space needs, was designed with a low profile and modern lines to avoid competition with the historic Academy Building.
Provo citizens have embraced the Provo City Library at Academy Square with a passion. Mayor Billings captured the feeling of the huge crowd gathered for the building's dedication: "Few times in Provo's history with equal this one...Not only have you created one of the finest library facilities in the West, but you have preserved one of the most significant ties we as Provo residents have to our past."