Monday, November 5, 2012

Army National Guard Facility Restores a Community’s Confidence

By: Scott Preston, Sustainable Building Associate
                              M.S. Landscape Architecture

On May 22, 2008 the Town of Windsor, in rural northern Colorado, was struck by an EF3 tornado.  With winds in access of 135mph, the tornado tore a path 35 miles long leaving a trail of destruction that leveled 80 homes and damaged 700 others.  Hundreds of power and telephone lines were downed, freight trains were overturned and cars lie on their roofs in the wake of its path that left more than $193 million in damage.  As the region came together to support a small community in distress, so did the Colorado Army National Guard.  A state of emergency was declared prompting the Guard to send helicopters with medics and provide security patrols to ensure that looting and theft didn’t ensue throughout the neighborhoods.

On October 13, 2012 I attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Army National Guard Windsor Readiness Center, a $9.8 million 31,000sf facility.  The show of support and appreciation from the community was apparent with over 200 in attendance.  This was my first ribbon-cutting ceremony so I wasn’t expecting such a turnout.  It was somewhat of an emotional day as Mayor John Vazquez thanked the Guard for their support in the aftermath of Windsor’s greatest disaster.  A soldier of the Colorado National Guard was promoted during the ceremony.  Furthermore, the Adjutant General of Colorado Major General H. Michael Edwards spoke, thanking the residents of Windsor for making the Guard feel so welcome in their new home.  The sense of pride among community members and the Guard alike was overwhelming. For the first time I had a real sense of the Guard’s role and their mission to protect and support Colorado citizens and property.

Over the past year I have had the opportunity to work with members of the Colorado Army National Guard, as well as RB+B Architects and Adolfson & Peterson, in the design and construction of the Windsor Readiness Center.  The facility lies on a 17-acre site which houses 130 soldiers of the 1157th Forward Support Company of the 1st Battalion, 157th Infantry Regiment.  The Windsor Readiness Center is pursuing LEED Platinum certification and is in line to be the first Platinum military building in Colorado.  The Windsor Readiness Center, a testament to green building, will use about 72% less energy and 35% less water than its baseline.