Mayor Mark Epley has big plans for the former Parrish Art Museum building on Jobs Lane in Southampton Village.
On Tuesday, March 25, Epley and architect Jorge Silvetti, of Machado and Silvetti Associates, presented the current plan to renovate and restore the building and grounds at 25 Jobs Lane and create a new cultural hub for the village. Silvetti aims to remove later additions on the building and restore the original structure, designed by Grosvenor Atterbury, while also adding new uses and features to the existing gallery and auditorium space.
“Most of what’s great about this site remains hidden,” Silvetti said, noting later that he plans to create more accessibility and flexibility, including five new “universal entrances.” Along with the flexible space and performance area, the Southampton Center would have a café, educational space, staff areas and a small area dedicated to WPPB radio. A Village information center will be situated in the former gift shop area near the Jobs Lane entrance. Outside, the grounds would feature a covered courtyard, contemporary gardens and a “beautiful arboretum” with all fountains repaired.
Silvetti said it’s imperative that the new space has a continuously even floor throughout, and much of the expansion would come by dropping the auditorium 12-13 feet below ground, creating a lower level. The new space would comprise 30,485 gross square feet, and 75 percent of the added space would be below grade.
Both Epley and Silvetti noted that the Southampton Center building has an excellent central location in Southampton Village, and this new “dynamic center for the arts” would be an important economic driver for the Village Business District. They have already established a board for the project, chaired by Whitney Stevens, and including a grant writer and attorney, among other members. Epley said the board is in the process of creating an advisory committee and they’re taking suggestions for future programming.
Stevens said summer 2013 would serve as a “sampler season” with film, family and educational programming, theater, music and more, but new construction won’t begin until the project is approved and enough funds are raised. “It’s going to be a process and it’s going to take some time,” Stevens said.
Epley explained that replacing the roof alone would cost $1 million, so the Southampton Center is a long-term goal. In the meantime, “The goal here is to never have the site dark,” the mayor said. “We’re trying to plan for the next 100 years,” Epley said. “We want to do this right.”
See more photos below, and look for next week’s issue of Dan’s Papers for more about the Southampton Center.