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SCAD ready to present city project
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The city of Springfield could be inching closer to establishing a historic district, after a presentation Thursday evening.

Students from Savannah College of Art and Design professor Jong-hyun Lim’s Technology of Historic Structures class will present their project at the Historic Effingham Courthouse at 7 p.m. Thursday, work that involved an extensive look at Springfield’s buildings.

"The city has, for a couple of years, been interested in trying to establish a historic district," said City Manager Brett Bennett. "Part of the process is to do an in-depth survey of all the potential properties, to find out when they were built, the architectural characteristics of the time and to document each property for its historical significance."

SCAD students roamed the streets of Springfield, taking photos and conducting architectural surveys of the city. The documentation is a step needed to establish a historic district and a historic preservation advisory board for the city, according to Bennett.

"They went above and beyond what we originally asked them to do," Bennett said.

The students will be developing 3-D models of seven properties deemed "monumental" in Springfield, including the Historic Effingham Courthouse, the Effingham Jail and Museum, the Mars Theater and the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church. The three-dimensional models will be submitted to Google Earth, allowing Web surfers to see them in 3-D.

The 3-D digital model of the Jail Museum is available on Google Earth, according to Bennett.

"I don’t know of any city that has this currently," he said. "We would probably be a first. If SCAD continues with this, they could create a virtual tour of a historic district via Google Earth. I don’t know of any other city that has that."

Establishing a historic district and a historic preservation board could open the door to historic preservation grants from the state.

"It’s huge," Bennett said. "Any historic preservation grants from the state are contingent upon the local authority having a historic district and a historic district advisory board that reviews plans for re-use of any historic property. The survey is the first step in that process."

In the fall quarter, SCAD students conducted a survey of the city, inspecting 107 different lots and taking more than 1,000 photos. Of the parcels SCAD students documented, 84 were classified residential, 15 as commercial and 13 as public. There were 14 properties that were either demolished, abandoned or had unknown circumstances befall them.