St. Francis, Wisconsin
Architect: Bray Architects
Owner: City of St. Francis
Contractor: Beyer Construction
The St. Francis Civic Center houses the Police Station, City Hall, Historical Society and Fire Station and is a hub of the community and center of civic service. The rotunda of the center houses permanent and rotating public displays of the city’s Historical Society, while providing a gathering space filled with natural light for public gatherings. The City’s Common Council Chambers also are located within the Administration area.
The center’s thoughtful design pays homage to the hard-working roots of the people of St. Francis while reflecting the city’s transitioning perspective of itself, marked by new relationships with large headquarters that have recently relocated there and the formation of major regional partnerships.
The 42,000 square foot, $9.75 million building replaced an undersized and antiquated existing civic center building which served the St. Francis community for over 60 years. The Police Department offers the latest in spaces for Administrative and Patrol, Detainee and Evidence Processing, Investigation and Major Case and a full Municipal Court. The Fire Department houses four pull-through Apparatus Bays, Training Room/Emergency Operations Center (EOC), Fitness Center, Staff and Intern Bunk Rooms
The building’s central public gathering space, the circular rotunda, is uniquely sited such that its central axis is the terminus of Lipton Avenue; which links the civic center to Greene Park – the community’s two civic amenities. The five acre site is located along Howard Ave, a critical circulation corridor within the community. The site also houses the trail-head for a newly developed public nature trail.
The site was a remnant of an abandoned power-plant, the remediation needs of which made it highly unattractive to developers, so the site remained of little value to the city’s tax roll. In addition, a very large utility line runs diagonally underground through the length of the site. Adherence to very strict soils guidelines to accommodate the sensitivity of the line included depth considerations and use of highly specialized fill along its length. Combined with existing wetlands, the site, overall, was an enormous challenge,
The design and construction team managed extensive remediation and worked closely with the DNR to utilize aggressive storm water management techniques. The site today is a beautiful and welcoming center of the community. Spring will welcome a beautifully landscaped area surrounding the building.
Photos: Saturn Lounge/Robert Ness