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    Brattleboro Coop Wins Smart Growth Award

    by  • December 4, 2012 • News

    Congratulations to the Brattleboro Food Coop, which recently won the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Award for Smart Growth Achievement for Main Street or Corridor Revitalization.

    What does that mean? According to EPA, “The Smart Growth awards are given for creative, sustainable initiatives that better protect the health and the environment of our communities while also strengthening local economies.” In other words, EPA is rewarding projects that promote walkable downtowns like Brattleboro’s.

    Of the Coop project, EPA says,”The Brattleboro Food Co-op, the town’s only downtown food store, made a commitment to remain at its downtown location by constructing an innovative, four-story green building on Main Street with a grocery store, commercial space, offices, and affordable apartments. The Main Street location provides healthy food, new jobs, and housing within walkable distances of downtown businesses and public transit.”

    Stevens & Associates provided civil engineering for the project. More on that in another post.



    Shelburne, VT Considers Form-Based Codes

    by  • September 25, 2012 • News

    Route 7 runs down the west side of Vermont from Burlington to Bennington, at times widening to 4 lanes. Up in Shelburne (just south of Burlington), development has turned into suburban sprawl. Citizens and the town government are now hoping to fight back with form-based codes, which control thelook, feel, and pace of development.

    According to the Form-Based Codes Institute, “Form-based codes address the relationship between building facades and the public realm, the form and mass of buildings in relation to one another, and the scale and types of streets and blocks. The regulations and standards in form-based codes are presented in both words and clearly drawn diagrams and other visuals.”

    In Shelburne, local officials hope to keep a Vermont village aesthetic–which also allows local businesses to thrive. Working with a team of architects, they developed a plan (PDF) for Route 7 in 2011. Now they have to decide how to implement that plan.

    Many thanks to Vermont Public Radio for the story on this one. Photos VPR/Kirk Carapezza.



    Bread Loaf Hired as Construction Manager for Brooks House

    by  • September 17, 2012 • News

    The group of investors planning to restore the Brooks House has announced that Bread Loaf, out of Middlebury, Vermont, will serve as the construction manager and contractor for the project. The group still plans to complete the purchase of the building this fall and begin construction in December of this year.

    Over the next several months, Bread Loaf will work with the investors and our design team to develop accurate cost estimates, secure bids from subcontractors, and finalize a construction schedule for the complex project.

    We are currently finalizing floor plans with the aim of returning some of the building’s grandeur. A two-story atrium and grand stair will greet visitors entering from Main Street through the former Adagio restaurant entrance—the building’s original main entrance. The open entry will house a coffee bar and allow visitors to enter all retail spaces from inside the building. These stores will also have exterior entrances on Main Street and High Street.

    Two stories would be added onto the rear, single-story portion of the building, creating additional office space and giving the building more of a distinct presence in Harmony Lot. A stair tower, added outside the rear of the main building, offers another distinct architectural element.

    Stevens & Associates is also creating park-like elements in the portion of Harmony Lot closest to the building and the tunnel from High Street. Vehicular traffic through the tunnel will be maintained, but a planted courtyard will offer outdoor seating and more attractive pedestrian access to the Brooks House and neighboring buildings.

    More information on the project, including detail on preleasing, is available at the project’s website. (Photo: Zachary P. Stephens/Reformer)



    Bringing Green Space to Union Station

    by  • August 29, 2012 • News

    Brattleboro’s Union Station is the entrance to town for the dozens of people who come here on the Amtrak train from New York, Boston, or Burlington. Over the years, it had fallen into disarray, with old buildings, a run-down parking area, and poor pedestrian connection to downtown.

    Stevens & Associates redesigned the parking area, added green space a and a bus turnaround, and added a timber-framed bus shelter created by a local artisan, Monica MacNeille.

    Landscaping has yet to happen, but with green space, better parking, and a brand new restaurant across the street, Union Station presents a much better face to visitors and residents alike.



    Dot’s in Wilmington Under Construction

    by  • July 26, 2012 • News

    Dot’s restaurant is under construction! The building was removed from its foundation so we could get in and rebuild (and floodproof) the foundation. It will be lifted back into place and renovated.


    Brooks House Gets Smart Growth Endorsement

    by  • July 19, 2012 • News

    The Brooks House has received a Smart Growth Housing Endorsement from the Vermont Smart Growth Collaborative and Vermont Natural Resourcs Council.“This is an exciting project that will bring the Brooks House back to life after it was gutted by fire in April of 2011,” said Kate McCarthy, VNRC’s Sustainable Communities Program director. “The project helps ensure that this historic building remains part of the downtown, while at the same time bringing the building into the 21st century with LEED certification to reduce its energy use.” LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a certification of energy efficiency granted by the U.S. Green Building Council.

    The Smart Growth Housing Endorsement Program was established in 2002 to recognize residential development projects that incorporated smart growth principles into their project design. Those principles include locating projects in existing settlements, providing transportation options to residents, and promoting a mix of housing types. Since 2002, 17 projects, comprising more than 700 dwelling units, have received endorsement.

    “We’re very excited about this award—we believe strongly in Smart Growth principles, and believe that dense, mixed-use development is vital to the continued vitality of our downtown and our state,” said Bob Stevens, a partner of Mesabi and principal at Stevens & Associates, the firm designing the project. “Stevens & Associates seeks to use these principles in all our projects, and it’s great to have a building that embraces Smart Growth so fully.”

    The Vermont Smart Growth Collaborative is a diverse partnership of Vermont nonprofit organizations working together to promote development strategies in Vermont that build on our state’s traditional landscape.

    For more information about the collaborative, visit www.vtsmartgrowth.org. The Vermont Natural Resources Council, which merged with Smart Growth Vermont in July 2011, is a founding member of the Vermont Smart Growth Collaborative.



    Rebuilding Dot’s Restaurant

    by  • March 28, 2012 • News

    In August 2011, Dot’s Restaurant in Wilmington fell victim to Hurricane Irene. The owners, John Patty Reagan, hired us to look at ways to rebuild the restaurant. After seeing the preliminary feasibility study, they have decided to move forward with the renovations, and have hired us to complete the design.

    The building sits on the Deerfield River, and was inundated with 8 feet of water during the hurricane. Our design for the new building raises it several feet with a new foundation, and provides flood proofing to protects against floods like those we saw during Irene. In addition, a new kitchen will be added on, increasing the size of the restaurant. In addition, the layout will be rearranged to make it more efficient and give diners excellent River views.

    Brattleboro Retreat Adds Patient Courtyard

    by  • March 23, 2012 • News

    The Brattleboro Retreat, a Brattleboro, Vermont, psychiatric and addiction hospital in operation since 1834, is constructing a series of new patient courtyards on its campus. The first of these, located adjacent to the Tyler building, is currently under construction.

    Stevens & Associates has designed the courtyards to provide safe and secure outdoor spaces for patients at the Retreat. The Tyler courtyard features a sitting and dining area, benches, a perennial garden, and large shade trees. A staff and visitor entrance to the Tyler building, located outside the perimeter of the new patient courtyard, is also being redeveloped with added seating and landscaping. Lighting around the entire project is also being improved.

    Earlier in its history, the Retreat had “airing areas” to complement its indoor facilities and allow patients to benefit from being outdoors. “We are extremely pleased to be adding these courtyards,” said Julia Sorensen, senior director of marketing, communications, and strategic planning at the Retreat. “The addition of safe, inviting outdoor spaces will greatly enhance the overall patient experience.”

    Two more new courtyards are being planned for other parts of campus. Construction on the Tyler courtyard will continue throughout the spring and is slated for completion in June or early July.



    Gasworks Building Demolition

    by  • March 21, 2012 • News

    The improvements to Union Station–including increased green space and improved parking and pedestrian access–are being made. Construction crews are out on site, preparing the site.

    This video shows the demolition of the Gasworks building. While we are sad to see it go (it’s an old building, after all), we are excited about the prospect of green space right along the river.

    Whenever possible, we like to keep old buildings (even those not designated “historic”). They have history, they’re part of the fabric of our towns and our communities, and they have a lot of stories to tell and a lot of life to give.

    In this case, however, the building was in very bad shape, contained hazardous materials, and would have been nearly impossible to rebuild with the community’s resources. The hazardous materials, unfortunately, meant that the building materials could not be reused–hence the demolition instead of deconstruction.

    What will replace this building will serve as a community resource: a park bordering the river with easy access to downtown. Visitors to Brattleboro will be welcomed by green space; those returning home will see the river that’s defined this town since it’s beginning. We are excited for the future even as we mourn the loss of this part of our past.

    Putney General Store Design Wins Award

    by  • March 5, 2012 • Awards, Projects

    We won! Stevens & Associated received an award in this year’s Engineering Excellence Awards Competition, held last month in Waterbury by the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) of Vermont. We received the Grand Award–the highest honor–for our work on the Putney General Store

    After the Putney General Store burned in 2008, Bob Stevens, founder and principal of Stevens & Associates, was on the scene, examining historic timbers and existing loading patterns. Time was of the essence—the roof was unsafe and needed to be removed. The existing structure was inadequate, and fixing it while the building was renovated meant removing the first floor and shoring up the building.

    In 2009, just as the renovations were being wrapped up, the building burned again, the result of arson. The building needed to be rebuilt from the ground up. Designed by Maclay Architects, the building looked almost identical to the historic structure it replaced. Like the old building, it was cantilevered out over adjoining Sacketts Brook. A steel structure with sunken concrete counterweights supports the new building.

    Floodproofing was also integrated into the design for the building. The store straddles a dam, and the flood height is above the damn. Ground water is intercepted through the soil above the dam and is discharged below it. This prevents the damaging forces that water would create during a flood.

    Stevens & Associates has won similar awards for other projects in the past, including the Brattleboro Transportation Center, the Wilder Building renovation, and the renovation of its own offices in the Cutler Block in downtown Brattleboro.