New life for former "One Court Square" building

Bethany Wales - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The building that sits in front of the Court Square fountain in downtown Montgomery, known as "One Court Square", is no longer going by that name.

Friday morning Mayor Todd Strange held a ceremonial burying of the name after workers finished pulling all the letters from the building's facade. The building will now be called "Dexter Plaza".

The name change was one of two developments announced for the site. Strange said a new children's museum called Questplex will soon open inside a portion of the vacant building. The museum was described as a well thought out, first class, tasteful center for cultural and intellectual learning for all ages.

Questplex will comprise a state-of-the-art, 21st century Montgomery City-County Public Library - The Juliette Hampton Morgan Memorial Library - as well as The Children's Museum of Alabama, a new hands-on science and technology museum.

"We're excited about everything Questplex will offer residents and visitors," said Mayor Strange. "Not only will the new library and The Children's Museum open up opportunities for learning among patrons of all ages, but they'll also build on the dreams we all have for our community. Questplex will be a major contributor to the economy and quality of life here."

The library will provide reading and literacy programs, and feature the latest computers and other 21st century multimedia technologies for enhanced learning and career advancement opportunities. Admission to the library will be free, while a proposed onsite café would sell coffee and refreshments to library visitors. The new branch of the library will replace the facility that opened in June 1960 at 245 High Street.

Thomas McPherson, Jr., President of the Library Board said, "This facility will expand what most people here think of when they hear the word, ' library.' In addition to the materials and literacy programs, it will provide people young and old with state-of-the-art technology and enrichment programs to improve learning and career skills. And as a community center, the library will be a key place to share experiences and ideas that will strengthen bonds within our area."

County Commission Chairman Elton Dean said, "We believe Questplex will change the way those in the River Region view and approach learning – and will have a lasting impact in other areas of life – in schools, in the workplace, and in the larger economy."

Questplex is a $20 million project, $15 million of which has already been raised, according to the mayor's office. The other $5 million will come from private campaigns, and will not come out of city/county general funds. Developers expect retailers to move in around the museum to help pay a portion of the cost. Work is also being done to secure grant and stimulus money to help cover the balance.

Construction is expected to start within a year, and the museum is projected to be completed within two years.

A temporary banner will go up in the coming weeks to notify the public of the building's name change. Mayor Strange said the city is gathering ideas to update the outside of the building.

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