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Ribbon Cutting at the Next Generation of Maintenance Facilities

July 12, 2023

Prioritizing practicality, durability, and community values, OZ Architecture, alongside project partners at the Town of Winter Park and The Lift, recently celebrated the completion of the Winter Park Regional Transit Center, officially ushering in a new era of improved transit for the greater Winter Park area.

Funded by a matching grant from the Department of Transportation, the new Transit Center replaces an outdated facility on the 12-acre site and provides enhanced consistency and reliability in transit services for the mountain community.

Approaching Civic Spaces
On civic projects, in particular, our team is typically tasked with synthesizing what can be competing goals into a cohesive design: First, we must thoughtfully address practical and functional requirements. For a transit facility, this includes supporting the equipment and maintenance needs and considering the experience of the people who will use the facility.

We further seek to deliver a space that reflects the project’s local context and values – a design the community can be proud of for years to come. Given that communities typically only take on these projects every few generations, we also work hard to make sure each project is optimized for longevity. That means considering the durability of materials as well as the flexibility of the spaces to adapt over time. And all of this must be accomplished within the parameters of a publicly funded project, which requires an exceptional degree of coordination, leadership, and creativity.

Meeting Modern Maintenance Needs
The Winter Park Regional Transit Center design needed to offer enhanced scale to serve the area’s growing tourism and workforce transit needs now while remaining flexible enough to allow for expansion down the road as new funding streams become available. To that end, OZ designed the project to allow for multiple approaches to phased development. Phase 1, which broke ground in July 2022, includes the construction of 36,900 sf of the planned 60,000 sf facility.

The new facility can support the operation and repair of an electrified bus fleet, giving the town options as it continues its sustainability objectives. In addition to on-site charging stations, the facility can house 36 buses indoors and several more outdoors. A spacious turning house provides a bus wash, and a large maintenance area offers five repair bays, specialized storage, and a chassis wash.

Respecting the Mountain Context & Supporting the Employee Experience
Given the project’s location high in the Rocky Mountains, we had to ensure the design would withstand harsh conditions and the wear and tear that comes with winters in Colorado. The building is sited to optimize solar gain and natural daylighting, supporting energy efficiency and occupant health and wellbeing. Given the broader region’s water scarcity and the rural nature of the site, the project has embarked on an ambitious and novel water salvaging program to clean and reuse bus wash water and snow melt for some of the facility’s operations.

The design prioritizes glazing at the public, street-facing facades and pulls the larger massings of the building to the north of the site, which minimizes visual impact on neighboring residential areas and provides a more thoughtful contextual scale. A combination of masonry and metal panels make up the exterior materiality, providing a timeless and durable face for the new facility that can withstand the extreme impacts of the mountain sun, wind, and snow.

The design also includes 5,900-square-feet for dispatch and administrative spaces, offices, and meeting rooms, as well as fully accessible personal shower rooms and a break area with southern exposure, offering direct access to an exterior courtyard. Radiant floors throughout the facility provide a comfortable and sustainable working environment for the staff.

A big thanks to the project partners pictured who came together on this project: Federal Transit Administration, CDOT, Town of Winter Park, The Lift, Town of Fraser, Grand County, Eagle County, Colorado Association of Transit Agencies, Winter Park Chamber of Commerce and Saunders Construction. With construction now complete, we’re honored to play a role in transforming this site into a resilient, healthy, and high-performing environment capable of supporting the area’s growing transit demands for generations to come.

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