Council approves first designs for new municipal building

Published 10:14 am Thursday, February 14, 2019

CASSOPOLIS — Since the Cassopolis village council gave its stamp approval in December for several economic development projects throughout the village, the council has moved into the phase of approving early designs for those projects.

One of the major development projects in the village will be the construction of a new municipal building that will bring all the major departments of the village under one roof.

At the Monday combined meeting of the village council and Cassopolis school board, the council approved the first schematic designs for the new municipal building.

As council members asked various questions about the design and the property where the building will be located, Sarratore assured the council thorough research was done to ensure the initial designs were as inclusive as possible for department needs.

“We met with each department separately, and the original layout was much different than where we’re at today,” said village manager Emilie Sarratore. “Part of that came from in-depth discussions with both the police department and the public works department.”

Shelby Kintz of Wightman, the project architect who worked on the first designs and layouts for the new municipal building, attended the Monday evening meeting to share details and answer questions from the council. She addressed topics such as the placement of different departments throughout the design and which design phases include different components of construction.

Still of some concern was the future location of the building, where the DPW currently resides off of Disbrow Street. Eugene Wagner voiced his concern that the new Village Hall would not be visible to the community. Sarratore and Kintz addressed the strengths of the location off Disbrow. The space lends itself well for construction and that it is already owned by the village.

“We did our pros and cons of the spaces, and for some of those reasons, that’s why the recommendation for the current DPW space,” Sarratore said.

By the end of the discussion, only two nay votes were cast against the approval of the schematic designs for the municipal building, so the resolution to adopt them passed.

The next phase of design, according to Kintz, will be fine tuning the details before construction.

“Next we’re going to move into design development, which is where we get further into code requirements for the building, make sure we’re meeting all of those as well as looking further into design,” Kintz said. “We’ll be honing in on what those fit and finishes end up being, what the construction of the building is going to be, what those systems end up being, what the site’s going to need and really just a deep dive into all aspects of design.”

Kintz said she has enjoyed working with the Cassopolis project because of the openness and eagerness to grow.

“Honestly, they’ve been a wonderful community to work with. They’re really good about knowing what they want and understanding that needs verses wants discussion,” she said. “They’re really focused on ‘What do we need as a village? What do the people who are going to hold this job after me need to do that job successfully.”