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Rogers' Lane Hotel to bear signs with Haas Hall Academy name, colors

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ROGERS -- Haas Hall Academy is a step closer to outfitting its downtown location at 121 West Poplar, formerly the Lane Hotel, for the school's operations.

The Historic District Commission unanimously approved on Tuesday signs bearing the words, crest, colors and motto of the school, as well as the awning styles that architect John Mack plans to use for the renovated location.

Lane Hotel

The Lane Hotel was built in 1929 and underwent two additions since, including the Orchard Room, which functioned as a restaurant for many years and housed an apartment below it. The two-story kitchen on the east side of the building was created in 1961. The Historic District Commission approved demolishing that kitchen, construction of its replacement and adding of two fire stairs in July. Those plans including replacing windows on the third, fourth and fifth floors; both elevators; a change to LED lighting and the addition of four parking spaces. A privacy fence, bike racks and bronze entry doors are also planned.

Source: Staff report

This is the first time any party connected to the Lane Hotel renovation publicly mentioned Haas Hall Academy in connection to the project. When reached by phone, Martin Schoppmeyer deferred comments on the progress of the building to Mack, and Mack declined to comment also. Luis Gonzalez, communications officer for the Walton Family Foundation, didn't immediately return a phone call for the same information.

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Mack said he discussed the signs and awnings in generalities in previous meetings, but knew he would be back when he could provide more detail about his clients' use. The variance requested by the property concerned the number of signs allowed rather than the size of those signs, Mack said.

Haas Hall plans to display four rectangular signs on the railing of the site. Those signs would be nearly 6 feet long and more than a foot tall.

"Those were signage spots at one time," Mack said of the designated location. "We're back with the same element."

Mack said the size of the signs doesn't challenge the district's requirement of how big the signs can be and their purpose isn't to be read from far away. Instead, the signs will attract attention from people coming down Poplar Street or sitting at the intersection, he said.

A mock up of the Lane Hotel provided at the meeting showed the signs at the projected size. Two of them were placed at the far left and right edges on the front of the building, while the other two were on its sides.

Mack said three other, smaller signs at 20 inches tall by 15 inches wide would also broadcast the school's identity at the east and west entries to the school, as well as one by its front door. Mack also hopes to revive use of a sign kiosk on the right side of the parking lot that has a glass panel and is internally lit. It originally had a large sign for the Orchard Room restaurant.

Commission Chairman Ed McClure verified the request included three more signs than typically allowed. Commissioner David Swearingen asked for clarification of the sign locations, which Mack said would be two signs on each front corner of the building, at the east and west alley and one by the door.

"These are identity, almost directional signs," Mack said.

Historic District Commissioners inquired whether the railing signs would also be lit, like the kiosk and monument, but Mack said it wouldn't. McClure said the commission might be open to the idea.

Designs for the awnings pictured a forest green and white stripe material and compared it to a photo of the Lane Hotel as it appeared in the 1950s. The two appeared to match closely. The material would fit six awnings in front of the building, over the hotel's dining room, windows and doors.

NW News on 04/20/2017

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