A space that meets today’s needs: New BG city building opens


Bowling Green residents on Wednesday got their first look at the new city administration building.

The facility, at 305 N. Main St., includes upgraded technology, as well as a focus on services for residents and an improved working environment for employees.

A general view of the new council chamber is seen. The City of Bowling Green invited members of the media and general public to get a “sneak peak” of the of the new City Administrative Services Building at 305 N. Main St. on Wednesday.

Scott Grau | Sentinel-Tribune

The public was invited to take part in a sneak peek at the building Wednesday afternoon.

“I’m most excited about the way that it is giving the city services to our residents,” said Mayor Mike Aspacher.

“I’m also really, really gratified” with the improved work environment for employees, he said.

Bowling Green Mayor Mike Aspacher poses for a portrait in the atrium of the new city building on Wednesday.

Scott Grau | Sentinel-Tribune

Aspacher said that the current city building, located just feet away at 304 N. Church St., had challenges with health and safety issues.

The city offices have been located in the current building, built in 1902, since 1976.

The new two-story building, which cost $14.5 million, encompasses 31,800 square feet and features a large, high-ceilinged entry space that leads to clearly-marked offices on the first floor.

A large staircase leads to similarly-labeled offices on the second floor.

People look at the new administrative building atrium during a “sneak peak” of the new City Administrative Services Building.

Scott Grau | Sentinel-Tribune

It is built on the site of the former Wood County Senior Center, and maintains the historic stone facade of that building, which is on the National Registry of Historic Places.

The utilities business office, income tax, public works, engineering, planning, community development, and communications departments are all located on the first floor. Large windows, as well as glass panels at the entryways of the various office suites, are located throughout.

“I do love all the glass as well,” said Municipal Administrator Lori Tretter.

She highlighted the user-friendliness of the new facility.

“I’m excited to be able to serve the citizens of Bowling Green in an appropriate and comfortable manner,” she said, later noting that when a citizen enters, it’s clear where they will need to go.

“You can find your way and with much greater ease and clarity,” said Tretter. “The maze of the old building” is gone.

A general view of the inside lobby of the Communications, Engineering, Planning and Zoning, and Public Works office is seen.

Scott Grau | Sentinel-Tribune

The income tax and utilities business offices – which are among the most frequently visited by citizens – as well as council chamber, are outfitted with hearing assistance technology utilizing a T-coil system. The system is already built into some hearing aids, and allows residents to better hear employees assisting them, or to hear discussions at council meetings. Those who do not have a hearing aid can instead request a device to use in one of the offices or at the council chamber.

A general view of a conference room in the administrative offices.

Scott Grau | Sentinel-Tribune

Public Services Director Joe Fawcett said that the areas where residents are able to interact with employees in those offices are more spread out to allow for privacy, and there are adjoining conference rooms to allow for a resident to meet with an employee, if necessary.

Council chamber, located at the opposite end of the hall from the entrance, has windows which look out of the stone facade onto Main Street.

The chamber, at 252 persons, has twice the capacity of the current council chamber, and seating for over 100 residents. The seating for council and city staff includes tablets allowing them to view presentations; two 96-inch screens located in the room allow for viewing by meeting attendees.

A general view of the new atrium is seen from the second floor of the new city building.

Scott Grau | Sentinel-Tribune

Special acoustic panels are located on the walls and ceiling, and two movable cameras located in the chamber will assist when streaming meetings online.

Adjoining the council chamber is a large conference room for executive sessions; it doubles as the city’s emergency operations center. A space which can serve as a secondary emergency operations center is also located on the second floor.

A general view of the new atrium.

Scott Grau | Sentinel-Tribune

The mayor’s office, along with offices or spaces for the municipal administrator, public infrastructure director, public services director, city attorney, clerk of council, finance and human resources are on the second floor.

Fawcett pointed out that individual offices have been shrunk in favor of an increase in collaborative spaces, such as conference rooms, “making it more easy for meetings to occur, which we have a lot of.

“We tried to size the facility to meet today’s needs,” he said, while also anticipate growth. The building includes “growth offices” and “growth work stations” to accommodate possible needs in the future.

A plaque declaring that the original building, which began as the post office, is registered as a historic building hangs on the wall in the new Bowling Green Council Chamber.

Scott Grau | Sentinel-Tribune

Among other spaces on the second floor is a terrace facing the Wood County District Public Library, where employees can take their lunch – “a place for employees to unplug and just enjoy,” Fawcett said. The space overlooks a common grass area shared with the library. There is also a break room on the second floor with seating for 16. It includes a fridge, sink with garbage disposal, a microwave and cabinet space.

“Taking care of the staff and giving them a place to have lunch away from their desk was another very important part of the planning,” Fawcett said.

Citizens were delighted with the new facility.

“This is a beautiful building,” said resident Lois Main on Wednesday after her tour of the facility. “This is quite a contrast from what was over there.

“It should be … easy to maintain as far as keeping it neat and clean and tidy,” she said.

Sustainability was another area of focus in the new building. Early in the planning process, the design team identified various ways to incorporate sustainability into the building. Modern windows and efficient HVAC systems will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The HVAC system includes an ice storage system to help reduce electrical usage during hot days when trying to cool the building. The site has a 74,000-gallon underground stormwater detention basin to reduce the amount of stormwater entering the combined sewer during rain events, thereby helping to reduce the possibility of combined sewer overflows during storms.

The second phase of construction will include the demolition of the old building and construction of the new parking lot, which will extend into the parking lot of the Wood County District Public Library.

During this phase of the project, a limited amount of parking, including handicap parking, will be available on the north side of the new building, accessible from Main Street. Parking will also be available from nearby city parking lots.

The completion date for this phase is estimated to be in October.

With preparations ongoing to move the city services from one building to another, all public meetings held in the city building are canceled during July.

The new building will open fully to the public on Tuesday at 8 a.m.

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