Feasibility Study

Feasibility Study for Renovation and Expansion of the Harrisonburg Public Works Building

Feasibility Study

In July of 2019, the Harrisonburg City Public Works department engaged Mather Architects to study the feasibility of renovating and expanding the current Public Works building and/or propose alternative suggestions as to the future location of the Public Works facilities.


Client: City of Harrisonburg Public Works

Location: Harrisonburg, VA

Project Type: Feasibility Study

The new entrance to Harrisonburg City Hall, Harrisonburg, VA, at dusk.

Project Info

The existing Public Works building is an 11,000 SF concrete block structure circa 1950.  The general condition of the building can only be described as fair as all interior finishes are dated and the building systems are nearing or have surpassed their usable life cycles.  The building has difficulty maintaining comfortable temperatures in many areas and the building insulation systems do not meet current energy standards.  To add insult to injury, the building sits within a backwater, and the finish floor is approximately 6 feet below the 100-year floodplain.  Altogether, the existing conditions of the building and site presented serious challenges to undertaking a renovation or expansion of the existing building.

Mather Architects began this study by generating an inter-departmental program and identifying current and future staffing and space requirements for each of the sub-departments within Public Works.  Additional support spaces were identified and incorporated into the program.  This new department program, in conjunction with the data gathered from the existing building, allowed us to generate recommendations for how the Public Works department could meet its current and future space requirements.

We developed two design scenarios – one for the renovation and expansion of the existing building and another for the construction of a brand new building.

In the renovation and expansion scenario, we developed a schematic design for the phased renovation and expansion of the existing building that would address both the new space requirements and develop strategies for flood-proofing the building.  A preliminary construction schedule was outlined and cost estimations were generated.

In the new construction scenario, we tried to address additional operations concerns.  As the existing building could not remain even somewhat operational during an extensive renovation and expansion, it was only logical that a new building be constructed prior to the demolition of the existing building a location on the existing site was selected that was outside the floodplain and a schematic floor plan was developed from the departmental program.  Additional space was added for a police substation and for fire department storage.  A preliminary construction schedule was outlined and cost estimations were generated.


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