City gets look at service center
After months of discussion, Cottage Grove officials now have a better idea of what a new south Washington County Service Center will look like. Representatives from Washington County and Ankeny Kell Architects presented preliminary drawings and a...
After months of discussion, Cottage Grove officials now have a better idea of what a new south Washington County Service Center will look like.
Representatives from Washington County and Ankeny Kell Architects presented preliminary drawings and a model of the new service center that will be constructed next year at the south end of the East Ravine in Cottage Grove.
The long, low building was designed with future expansion in mind, but will initially house public health, community services and community corrections departments, as well as meeting rooms to service the south end of Washington County.
Visitors entering the new building will be greeted by a help desk at the entrance to quickly direct them to their destination.
"That's to make sure when they come to get services from Washington County there is no confusion of where to go, there's somebody to help them right away," said Mark Wentzell, a partner with Ankeny Kell Architects.
Wentzell guided the council and audience through the building's major design principles, including environmental sustainability and blending into the ravine's scenic views.
"The landscape design is based around the idea that this could have been an old homestead," Wentzell said.
That could include raspberry and blueberry bushes, hydrangeas and lilac and crab apple trees throughout the property.
The design also includes rain water gardens integrated into parking medians that will treat the water on site. A mowed trail and scenic rain water garden will be accessible behind the building and extend into the ravine, an amenity for visitors to explore the site.
Wentzell also said that they were exploring the use of geothermal and solar energy to make the building as sustainable as possible. Such features are costly and may not make it into the final design.
On the outside, the building will be finished with natural stone, orange brick and dark, metallic shingles.
Washington County Commissioner Myra Peterson and Cottage Grove Mayor Sandy Shiely both expressed concern about the metal shingles, an unusual and economical material that Wentzell says will provide an attractive contrast to the warmer, natural materials.
Peterson said that she will be touring buildings in the western suburbs with similar shingles to assess their appearance in practice.
"What we want to do is to see, very honestly, how these metal shingles are used and if we feel comfortable with them," she said.
Wentzell said that Ankeny Kell tried to make the building cost-effective for the tax payers.
"We don't want it to be showy or ostentatious with tax dollars," he said.
The county hopes to be in the building by 2007, with construction beginning in 2006.
The Cottage Grove Planning Commission will review a formal site plan later this month.