For the Tuolumne County Resilience Centers (CRC’s), the design team was tasked with many unique opportunities that result in final designs that are truly inspired by community involvement while achieving resiliency. Mike Davey, Project Manager, and William Sandusky, Job Captain, in our Civic Studio, discuss these projects and the many design opportunities they offered in the Q&A below:
Tell us a brief background on this project.
The Tuolumne County CRC’s are a response to the County’s needs after the Rim Fire of 2013 threatened vulnerable local communities. The County was awarded federal grant money, administered through the State, to build a community center that can also refuge local people in an emergency. After holding multiple community meetings to develop the program, it was decided that the project be split into two projects, with one Resilience Center located in Tuolumne and one in Groveland. Both centers will serve as a place for training, gathering, and community organizing, and in the case of a local emergency it will be a resource to safely serve County citizens.
Can you highlight some elements of resilient design?
Both project sites are in a very high-risk fire zone, requiring the buildings to be built with fire-resistant materials including plywood, plaster finishes, and metal panels with defensible spaces throughout both sites. Both buildings will be equipped with emergency generators to carry the full electrical load due to unexpected power loss. The meeting rooms can also house 100-150 cots for those looking for refuge in an emergency.
What are some of the key design opportunities we took advantage of on this project?
The design team had many opportunities to create a design that would transform the communities of Tuolumne County for years to come. Some of these design opportunities included:
• The development of a design that is efficient and flexible.
• Each facility is 100% covered by emergency power.
• The Tuolumne site is small, flat and part of an urban grid. The design of this CRC is reflective of the architecture within the grid.
• The Groveland site is a much larger rural site with challenging grades. Outdoor areas of communication and entertainment have been incorporated into the site design. These areas will include an outdoor patio and grassy amphitheater, and a terraced triage area for animal staging and tents for Cal Fire firefighters.
• Each facility will have a fully functional commercial kitchen, large divisible meeting rooms, a classroom with plug and play capabilities, emergency generators, rentable offices and large parking lots for either parking or staging areas.
• The natural beauty of the surrounding Tuolumne County provided design opportunities to bring in plenty of natural light and views into the centers.
Tell us a bit about the community involvement aspects of this project?
In order to engage the community for the future facility, the design team along with the County held three separate community meetings prior to design. The first two meetings were held in Tuolumne and Groveland. These meetings invited the public to discuss what they wanted the new resilience center to bring to the community. Community members in attendance provided Lionakis with their wishes and dreams. In the third meeting, the design team took what they heard from the first two meetings and used the ideas set forth to make decisions on what the program could be.
Due to the rural nature and natural terrain of Tuolumne County, it was discussed and agreed at the third meeting that the project had to be divided into two separate facilities that contained the same program.
In May of this year, both resilience centers broke ground with Boyer Construction as the General Contractor. Both projects are slated to be completed in July 2022. These projects will bring much-needed facilities to the County, serving as emergency response and evacuation facilities in the event of another natural disaster.
Stay tuned on the blog as construction continues! For more information about the project, check out the local news.