Launch Slideshow

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Rebels with a cause

Rebels with a cause

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    In the lobby, countertops, porcelain tile, and ceiling tiles contain recycled material. The wood on the walls is sustainably harvested, in accordance with standards set by the nonprofit Forest Stewardship Council (www.fscus.org). From left, Public Works Director William Hadley, HKT Architects Project Manager Michael Lawrence, and HKT Architects Principal Janet Slemenda. Photo: Gerry Evelyn/Evelyn Images

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    The Samuel Hadley Public Services Building contains more than 1,500 square feet of meeting space where neighborhood groups and other members of the public can gather. Residents also pay their water bills and pick up recycling bins at the facility. Photo: HKT Architects Inc.

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    Though the new facility provides 35% more office, storage, and shop space, the 9.6-acre site has 8% — or about an acre — more green space than before. A picnic area is available for the public, as is a water bubbler for dogs and their owners. Photo: CTA Construction Inc.

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    The employee corridor acts as a transition from the operations area to the administration building. A skylight and a curtain wall on each end mitigate the need for artificial light. Photo: CTA Construction Inc.

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    Exterior sunscreens positioned above the windows of the administration building reduce summer solar heat gains and maximize winter sunlight. Photo: HKT Architects Inc.

Indoor environmental quality. Low-emitting adhesives, sealants, paints, coatings, carpets, and composite wood products were specified whenever possible to minimize the amount of harmful VOC (volatile organic compounds).

Innovation in design. The campus includes a connection to, and destination for, a local bike path.

The design team and construction contractor also worked with the town's composting facility to use the material in all planting areas. They used more than 800 cubic yards of screened loam and 1,150 cubic yards of screened compost.

“This process is a wonderful example of how a community can recycle what some considered waste just a few years ago into a high-quality product,” says Hadley.

MAXIMIZING SITE PLACEMENT

The facility is located within a residential neighborhood, so minimizing noise and light pollution is critical.

To reduce noise on the north and west sides of the facility, where most of the homes are located, highly used areas such as maintenance and exterior storage face south. The vehicle staging and prep area, which is the campus' largest component, extends on an east-west axis through the site, containing noise on the south side while allowing for vehicle circulation within the site. Operations activities for sand and salt sheds are performed mainly inside the building, reducing noise and light levels when snow hits.

Located on a bus route, the facility is easy to get to. It also connects to the Minuteman Bikeway (also known as America's Revolutionary Rail-Trail), and encourages employees to bike to work by providing storage and changing rooms.

The facility earned a 2010 Engineering Excellence Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies and is being reviewed for LEED Silver Certification.

If accepted, it will be one of only a handful of certified public works facilities in the country. Also on the short list are the Naperville Public Works Center and the Oak Park Public Works Facility, both in Illinois, and the Pierce County Public Works building in Spanaway, Wash.

Meanwhile, Hadley is fielding calls and tour requests from municipalities interested in the building's green design elements.

“We're changing the future of public works organizations and the facilities they operate out of,” he says.

—Hirschfeld is a freelance writer in Chicago and editorial intern for PUBLIC WORKS; Sicaras is managing editor of PUBLIC WORKS.