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Size alone cannot measure the impact a seemingly modest renovation and addition have had on the City of Minneapolis facilities management department.
While the $7.6 million Third Precinct Police Headquarters Project encompassed 45,000 square feet, those involved with planning and carrying out the project now are realizing the lasting effect it has had on the way the city designs, builds and maintains its facilities.
The city completely renovated the existing 16,000-square-foot facility, which it built in the early 1980s, specifying new mechanical and electrical systems, as well as sustainable technologies. The project team also added 31,000 square feet to the building to accommodate a police department decentralizing its downtown hub, expanding space requirements for new operations within the Third Precinct Police Headquarters facility.
More importantly, the completion of the project in 2005 signaled a shift in the way the facilities department plans and executes projects designed to modernize and expand the city's building portfolio. This project, along with another that had taken place around the same time, sparked the city to adopt the U.S. Green Building Council's green building rating system, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), when tackling renovations and new construction projects.
"This (project) was the stepping stone," says Paul Miller, senior project manager with the city. "We had a series of projects in that time frame that we did a lot of sustainable design and construction. We were comparing ourselves against the Minnesota Sustainable Design Guide at the time. But (this project) was our stepping stone (to LEED)."
The project also marked a change in the role maintenance staff plays in renovation and construction projects. The staff had a key role in the design review, helping specify equipment and materials. Staff members also were involved in the commissioning process after the project was complete.
This project was one of the first the city had tackled during which the maintenance staff had a more formal role. But since its completion, that process has become standard for the city.
"It's extremely important," says Gary Modlin, facilities manager with the City of Minneapolis. "We did have a good working relationship with Paul Miller and his team to take a look at all the documents prior to the submittal for construction. We also followed through all the way to the finish."