Construction close-up: A look inside the new Cottage Grove City Hall buildingFrom an abundance of natural light to a much larger criminal evidence storage area, design details of the new Cottage Grove government building that once were only on paper are taking shape.
By: Scott Wente, South Washington County Bulletin
From an abundance of natural light to a much larger criminal evidence storage area, design details of the new Cottage Grove government building that once were only on paper are taking shape.
Construction of the new city hall and public safety building on Keats Avenue reached a new stage last week as structural work — foundation, exterior walls, the roof — was wrapping up and crews were starting interior wall framing and other work.
Also last week, dozens of city employees got their first up-close look at the job site as Graham Construction, the project contractor, led tours through the two-story, 67,000-square-foot building.
Rob Puncochar, Graham’s site superintendent, said interior framing is beginning with the installation of metal wall studs and will take about four weeks. Once the framing is complete, electricians and mechanical installers will rough in utilities to individual rooms and meeting areas and plumbers will begin their work. The work schedule calls for the building’s windows to be installed in June.
Meanwhile, masonry work continues outside. Portions of the building’s exterior were sealed in a black water-proofing material and are being finished with brick. That will take about another five weeks to complete.
The $15.7 million building is scheduled to be open in October, but city officials expressed cautious optimism that it could wrap up a bit sooner.
“I think it’s ahead of schedule,” Bob LaBrosse, the city’s chief building official, told staff during a May 2 tour.
City and project officials pointed out some of the project highlights that are coming into focus:
n The City Council chambers has space for about 45 people to watch meetings, which is about the size of the existing council chambers. However, City Administrator Ryan Schroeder said, it is uncommon to fill the chambers for meetings, so they are not overbuilding the new one. The back of the council chambers features glass windows, so an overflow crowd can observe a meeting from the lobby, which will include audio and video monitors.
n In a public safety area in the basement, the criminal evidence storage room will be larger and a better use of space, Public Safety Director Craig Woolery said. It also will allow for proper ventilation of narcotics and other evidence. “If you walk into the evidence room today, right away you smell marijuana,” he said. There is a dedicated vehicle bay for storage of cars or trucks that are evidence in criminal cases.
n The main entry to the building leads into a spacious lobby, where there will be secured access to the police department and a separate access to the main government area on one side and the council chambers and a large meeting room on the other side.
n Two large skylights span more than half of the building, one in the public safety area, the other in the general government area.
n Some initial grading is under way on the grounds around the building. A rainwater harvesting system will be located on the southeast corner of the building. An underground tank will collect rainwater that drains from the building’s roof. The water will be used to irrigate the property.
n The basement includes a law enforcement parking garage. The garage has space for 40 vehicles, up from the 16-stall garage at the current city hall, Woolery said.
n On any given day there are 50 to 60 workers on the site representing about 10 subcontractors, Puncochar said.