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Supporting the Next Generation of Maintenance Facilities

July 15, 2022

Last week, OZ Architecture and our project partners, the Town of Winter Park and The Lift, broke ground on the new Winter Park Regional Transit Center.

Funded by a matching grant from the Department of Transportation, the new Transit Center will replace an outdated facility on the 12-acre site and provide enhanced consistency and reliability in transit services for the mountain community.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, as well as considering the experience for 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 kicked off with the groundbreaking last week, includes the construction of 36,900 sf of the planned 60,000 sf facility.

The new facility will have the capabilities to support the operation and repair of an electrified bus fleet, giving the town options as it continues sustainability objectives. In addition to on-site charging stations, the facility will house 36 buses indoors and several more outdoors. A spacious turning house will provide a bus wash, and a large maintenance area will offer 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 stand up to harsh conditions and the wear and tear that comes with winters in Colorado. The building itself is sited to optimize solar gain and natural daylighting, supporting both 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 facility provide a comfortable and sustainable working environment for the staff.

A big thanks to the project partners pictured who came together to celebrate the groundbreaking 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 underway, we’re excited to see this new chapter of improved transit begin for the greater Winter Park area, and we look forward to seeing the transformation of this site into a resilient, healthy, and high performing environment.

The first phase of the Winter Park Regional Transit Center is slated for completion in Q1 of 2023.

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