San Antonio: Architects Seek Public Comment on World Heritage Center Design
Feature Photo (above): View from Roosevelt Avenue of the Mission Marquee Plaza (left) and the future site of the World Heritage Center to its right (south). Image: Google Streets.
by Adolfo Pesquera
San Antonio (Bexar County) — Architects assigned by the city to design the World Heritage Center have begun seeking public comment on how the building should look and function.
A survey is being circulated to the general public to obtain comments on the proposed facility, which has a budget of about $7.25 million and is to be located immediately south of the Mission Marquee Plaza (formerly the Mission Drive-In).
The World Heritage Center is intended to be a key component of the $37 million bond-funded World Heritage Projects. Except for the center, all other projects are expected to advance to the construction stage within the next nine to 10 months.
The future World Heritage Center is highlighted in red.
Mission Road from SE Military Drive to the San Antonio River, a $2 million project, is to begin construction in October. This will provide decorative street lighting, new sidewalks, and a hike and bike connection to the river.
South Presa Street from Southcross to SE Military, a $5 million project, begins construction in February-March 2021. These are corridor improvements with pedestrian amenities.
Southcross Boulevard from Pleasanton Road to Roosevelt Avenue, a $5 million project, begins construction May 2021. Corridor improvements include pedestrian amenities.
Roosevelt Avenue, split in two phases that combined go from Southtown to Loop 410, is a $13 million project that begins construction July 2021. Corridor improvements include bicycle lanes, sidewalks and landscaping.
World Heritage Trail Signage and Wayfinding, a $5 million project, provides wayfinding signage along a 7.5-mile trail that connects the San Antonio Missions.
The Historic and Design Review Commission reviewed and approved the request for Certificate of Appropriateness for the wayfinding project at its June 17 meeting. The project is in the City of San Antonio (COSA) Sign Package 5 and is expected to get to construction by November.
The World Heritage Center and wayfinding/signage projects are listed in VBX as Project ID 2017-2D59.
During virtual public hearings held in June, the architects discussed the World Heritage Center project.
Brian Mask, an associate principal at Dunaway Associates, said the World Heritage Center is to be located between the Mission Marquee Plaza and the Mission Library. There will be surface parking facing Roosevelt Avenue and pedestrian pathways connecting the center to the plaza and the library. There will also be a trail that extends southward beyond the library to Mission San Jose.
Geof Edwards, a principal at Munoz & Co., said nothing has been designed at this point. The public survey will be asking people what kind of functions the facility should have.
Some ideas that the architects suggested to begin the public input include whether there should be a museum style learning space that would inform people about the Spanish missions; should there be an art gallery type space to display art and should such a space extend outdoors; should there be space for neighborhood meetings, and space for social events and other gatherings, and should such a space also extend to the outdoors.
Pedestrian path at the corner of Roosevelt Avenue and VFW Blvd, showing Mission Marquee Plaza on the left and the World Heritage Center on the horizon at center.
Adolfo Pesquera (Reporter/Editor) is a veteran news journalist. He has worked for Hearst Corp., American Lawyer Media, News Corp and Freedom Communications. His work has been published in newspapers and magazines across the USA. He is a journalism graduate of UT-RGV. He writes, edits and creates digital pages for VBX.