Commonwealth Journal

Local News

January 10, 2013

Energizing Architecture

$8.5 million complex to revitalize, transform downtown Somerset

Somerset —  

Members of Somerset City Council during a workshop Monday night got a first look at what Mayor Eddie Girdler calls the final preliminary design of the city’s planned energy hub.
The modernistic, glass-bedecked structure, first of its kind in Kentucky, will sprawl over most of a city block bounded by East Mt. Vernon and College streets. Its main purpose is to monitor the city’s vast natural gas pipeline network, but center’s four floors, including a basement, will house city hall offices and an emergency command center with police department space.
The energy hub, with 36,200 square feet on four floors, will be located on what is now a city parking lot at the corner of East Mt. Vern-on and College streets. The area will be expanded by demolition of the former Meece Hardware building on the west side of the parking lot; the former city utilities building on the west side of College Street north of the parking lot; and the current city utilities building on the east side of College Street just north of Somerset City Hall. The existing city hall facing East Mt. Vernon Street will be torn down to make way for a parking area.
Estimated cost of the energy complex is $8,496,000. Somerset has been approved for an $8.5 million loan through the United States Department of Agriculture’s Community Facilities Program to develop and construct the ground-breaking energy hub. The center was designed by Brandstetter Carroll Inc., a Lexington-based group of architects, engineers and planners.
Girdler said there will be city hall offices on all three of the above-ground floors. The city clerk’s office, city staff, Somerset Police Department offices, conference room and public use spaces, including a drive-through, will be on the first floor.
Heart of the energy center will be on the second floor. It will have the technology center and engineers’ offices as well as space for city police department detectives and planning and zoning department.

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