Massanutten Police Department

The Verticle Stretch

Massanutten Village and Resort was created in 1971 as a ski resort and residential community.  Its design was intended to give residents and visitors a sense of being tucked away in a mountain village as well as having privileged access to Massanutten’s amenities.  To help create this feeling, the village was laid out with only one point of entry and exit. A tiny police station, hardly more than a corrugated shed, was placed between the incoming and outgoing lanes.  The Massanutten police force consequently played an important role, not only in controlling access to the village and resort but also in creating an overall feeling of security and welcoming residents and visitors alike.


Size: 2,100 s.f.

Cost: $300,000

Client: Massanutten Village and Resort

1735 Massanutten Dr 
McGayhesville, VA

Completion: 2009

Project Type: Government/Office

Partners: Massanutten Property Owners

The new entrance to Harrisonburg City Hall, Harrisonburg, VA, at dusk.
A hand drawn look at the architectural hyphen of the new Harrisonburg City Hall, Harrisonburg, VA. This is the glass atrium area that connects the old building to the new building.
An aerial view of Harrisonburg City Hall, Harrisonburg, VA, where you can see all construction, old and new.

Project Info

By 2009, both the village and the resort had seen significant growth, and the police force had to grow as well.  Subsequently, the 500-square-foot police station was now positively cramped. Furthermore, its garden-shed look did nothing to help create the mountain-hamlet aesthetic expressed elsewhere in Massanutten.

It was clear that somehow it had to be enlarged, but its required location, the tiny sliver of land between the incoming and outgoing lanes, posed a significant challenge.  The management of Massanutten turned to Mather Architects to see what could be done.

The balcony above the lobby area in the new Harrisonburg City Hall, Harrisonburg, VA.
The stairwell in the new Harrisonburg City Hall, Harrisonburg, VA.

Our Solution

We proposed two structural strategies to make the most of the space.  First, we saw that by widening the road by only a few feet and creating two incoming lanes instead of one, we could significantly expand the available space between the exit and entry lanes.

Second, it was clear that the only other available direction for expansion was up.  Therefore, we designed a multi-level structure on the slightly enlarged triangle of land.  The increased horizontal and vertical spaces combined to create a 2,100-square-foot police station.  Together, this allowed room for administrative offices, receptionist areas, and secure space for processing evidence.  

Another view of the new entrance to the new Harrisonburg City Hall, Harrisonburg, VA.
Looking up at the atrium windows in the new Harrisonburg City Hall, Harrisonburg, VA.

In effect, we were also able to solve a safety problem. In order to access their vehicles, officers had to cross the incoming lane of traffic.  Our design created an elongated triangle of land between the incoming and outgoing lanes.  We positioned the police station near the widest end, leaving parking room for several patrol cars at the triangle’s narrow end.  Officers can now easily and safely access their vehicles.

In addition, the multi-level structure gave the building more of a residential feel, which we accented with a log-cabin exterior design.  The new police station now serves as an introduction to Massanutten’s mountain-village aesthetic, rather than clashing with it.  The police force now has space and the resources to fulfill its important role in the village and resort.


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