Princeton, (WV) – Johnson + Bailey Architects P.C., of Murfreesboro, TN, was announced today by The RiffRaff Arts Collective, as the architectural firm of record for the Lonnie Gunter, Jr. Center for Industrial History, to be located in the Historic East End of Princeton.
The Lonnie Gunter, Jr. Center for Industrial History (LGC) is a legacy project, curated and intended to preserve and celebrate West Virginia’s and the nation’s industrial heritage. The project is locally driven by The RiffRaff Arts Collective (RRAC) with support from the City of Princeton and the Lonnie Gunter Center Development Committee.
Last year members of the Lonnie Gunter Center Development Committee reviewed and scored five qualified architectural firm applicants. Johnson + Bailey Architects P.C. (J+B) was the Committee’s unanimous choice for the LGC project. “J+B demonstrated to the Committee their emphasis on providing design work that is sensitive to the local surroundings, creates a sense of place and is highly functional for the end user. Their firm has relevant project type experience, as well as extensive experience delivering complex projects on time and within budget,” said Robert Blankenship, Grandson of Mr. Gunter, Creative/Technical Director of RRAC and Committee Member.
“The mission of the LGC will be to educate, to inspire, to energize a can-do culture, by preserving American industrial innovations and artifacts to fuel wonder and imagination for generations to come,” said Marcie Gabor, Committee Member, Daughter and Curator of Mr. Gunter’s collection, “Dad’s dream was to preserve the past to share with future generations. J+B has demonstrated they grasp the vision for the buildings that will house that dream.”
The J+B architectural team, assigned to the LGC project, has close ties to the Princeton community. John T. Trail, AIA, NCARB, CDT, grew up in Rock, WV and will serve as lead architect. Mr. Trail will facilitate all aspects of the LGC project’s design and documentation, coordinate all consulting engineers, and manage the preliminary design, design development, and construction documentation phases. Mr. Trail will also manage the project once it is in the construction phase. When asked about this opportunity, Mr. Trail said, “Projects of this nature and intent do not happen every day. I’m honored and excited that I can help bring this project to life in my hometown.”
Christopher Lee Clark, AIA Assoc., NCARB will serve as architectural designer for the LGC project. During Mr. Clark’s career, he has worked as an architectural designer for over a decade in southern WV/VA on various projects that saw the revitalization of several Appalachian downtowns. In Princeton, he assisted in the restoration of the Prince Hotel, The Princeton Public Library, and the ongoing Renaissance Theatre restoration process. He sat on the Community Improvement Commission (CIC) for The City of Princeton for nearly 5 years, as well as nearly 5 years on the Renaissance Theatre Project team.
Redevelopment of three properties is needed to establish the LGC site adjacent to the Princeton Railroad Museum in the Mercer Street Historic District of downtown Princeton. One of the properties is the Wheby’s Grocery building – a landmark in Princeton, built in 1925. Upon helping the RRAC finish a preservation grant application for the Wheby’s building, Mr. Clark commented, “We have imagined something good that can inhabit this historic space, so let’s prepare to leap forward into what the world around us can be.”
To learn more about the LGC, visit theriffraff.net/lgc
Preliminary concepts for the Lonnie Gunter, Jr. Center for Industrial History by Johnson + Bailey Architects, P.C. (This caption should accompany the images.)