JACKSONVILLE, FL-The final count is on for four architectural firms hoping to land the design contract for Jacksonville’s new Main Library, a $95-million, 300,000-sf undertaking. Mayor John Delaney has called a Thursday morning press conference to announce a winner or say it’s time to begin the selection process all over again.

Facing off are New Jersey’s Michael Graves & Associates, Philadelphia-based firm Vitetta, and New York City’s Robert A.M. Stern Architects and Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates. A judges’ panel has until 4 p.m. today to deliver a recommendation to Delaney.

“Mayor Delaney is very pleased with all of the designs from these internationally known architects,” Sharon Ashton with the mayor’s office tells GlobeSt.com. “We believe that our new main library will breathe new life into our downtown area and create new energy in the heart of our community.”

Jacksonville is funding the project through a $2.2-billion “Better Jacksonville Plan.” City officials do not appear too concerned that each of the four proposals would likely exceed the projected budget by several millions of dollars. That projection comes from a study of the four designs by Heery International, hired to manage the huge undertaking. Apparently, the Stern design would be most cost-effective at about $62 million and the Vitetta design would be the most expensive at $72 million. The mayor’s office has ideas for saving money, such as gradually furnishing the structure, in order to bring the chosen design to completion.

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