On February 23, 2013 the Town of Newbern celebrated the opening of Newbern Town Hall. A small town built around a traditional southern main street and built along a busy highway that connects two larger towns, Newbern, Alabama’s downtown is the center of community activity that recently lacked a formal gathering place. In 2010 the Newbern Town Hall project was identified as a way to fill this need. Rural Studio student design team Brett Bowers, David Frazier, Mallory Garrett, and Zane Morgan began to work with The Town of Newbern, Mayor Woody Stokes, the town council, Hale County Probate Judge Arthur Crawford Sr. and the Newbern Volunteer Fire Department to develop a civic campus to fill this need. As the second only new building planned for Newbern since the early 1900’s, it was natural to use an adjacency to the new Fire Department to organize a public space. Sited to the north of the Newbern Volunteer Fire Department (2005 Rural Studio Project), the walls of the Newbern Town Hall and Fire Department create north-south boundaries to define a civic square. The east boundary is demarcated by a covered barbecue pit and vegetated screen wall – the screen wall also functions to hide site parking beyond. The Town Hall, as the primary community and civic building in Newbern, will function as a meeting place for the Town Council, provide a place to teach community classes, become a voting location, and will be available for other miscellaneous community events.
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