The Conway Historic District commmission gave preliminary approval on Tuesday night to a design from Central Baptist College for construction of a new library and demolition of the existing library.

Commissioners asked that the extensive landscaping that accompanied the construction of the Academic Building opened earlier this year be followed in the library's plans.

A nearby property owner requested that construction times be limited, especially on Sundays. Marianne Welch said a neighbor couldn't understand why a church school would have workers on site on Sundays.

Architect Rik Sowell said completion of the Academic Building was on a tight schedule to meet the opening of the fall semester, but the Library project will not have the same time constraints.

In other business, the commissioners approved plans for construction of two new homes on .96 acres at 2020 and 2016 Johnston St., between Donaghey and Watkins, in the historic area.

Working with the owner, Robert Hamilton, the panel discussed placement and design of the 1,193 square foot homes on the lots. Presented were the same home designs approved for construction on Davis Street by the HDC in September.

CBC announces $1.3 million gift

Central Baptist College announced Tuesday that commitments to Vision 2020: A Miracle in the Making have topped the $10 million mark. Vision 2020 is a plan to complete 10 major construction projects over 10 years to accommodate a student enrollment of 2020 students.

In mid-November, CBC received a $1.3 million gift to put the Vision 2020 total at $10,078,865.

Coming with the additional $1.3 million pledge is the opportunity for the college to construct a new library facility instead of renovating the existing structure.

Library staff researched other libraries and used the advice of experts to identify key elements to create a facility that would meet current and future needs, according to a release distributed Tuesday.

According to CBC President Terry Kimbrow, "The construction of a new facility enables more of these identified benefits to be incorporated. The consensus from every standpoint was new construction, if possible, was clearly a preferable approach and the most efficient use of our resources."

A new, two-story building will be built on the current site of the Administration/Library Building once demolition of the current building takes place, and will be just over 16,000 square feet. Construction is set to begin early in 2013. Features that were to be included in the renovation and expansion will be included in the new building, but the configuration of the space will allow a greater use of the building.

Preliminary layout includes the following: library staff offices, learning commons, more than 30 computer workstations, multimedia classroom, café and café seating area, Ronald V. Mitchell Archives, science resource center, music listening lab, media curriculum center, conference rooms, group and private study rooms, and book stacks.

Floor plans, outside elevation, and naming opportunities are being developed and will be available in the coming weeks.

The mission statement of Central Baptist College calls for the integration of Christian faith and academic excellence in a Christ-focused environment.

"That, I believe, can only be accomplished as we continue to improve the campus learning environment," Kimbrow stated. "We are here to facilitate ‘life change’ in both the minds and hearts of our students. Vision 2020 is simply a plan to help us as we strive to accomplish our mission."

CBC launched Phase 1 of Vision 2020 in February 2011 with a $12 million goal to fund the three construction projects. The first project in Vision 2020 was the construction of the David T. Watkins Academic Building which was completed earlier this year.

The library project, which is currently under way, is the second project, followed by the construction of a new residence hall.

Staff writer Becky Harris contributed to the original announcement from CBC.