This project began as a study to look at alternative sites for a new senior’s center in Johnson City, TN. But as the project got started it became clear that city’s need went far beyond that. Many of their community resource facilities were aging and in need of replacement. What the city needed was a comprehensive look at their current and future needs and a plan to go where they had no idea they could go.
By working with focus groups, programs for each component -seniors, parks and recreations, aquatics, arts, and community - were generatedand through comparative analysis, it was illustrated that the whole could be far greater than the sum of its parts. Initially the city was resolved to replace each component in time as funds were available, often in a stopgap fashion, and most certainly as stand alone facilities on individual sites. But we illustrated that by combining the projects into a single campus, a great number of resources could be shared and many now redundant program elements could be eliminated due to close proximity. It was even illustrated that a portion of the savings could go to increase the scope to include programmatic elements that had been previously out of reach. This idea of spending less money as away to yield more public benefit was a hit with the city council and with the large community forum held to present the project.
The project became an opportunity to capitalize on the high volume of existing people who regularly use the public facilities as a way to breath newlife into the heart of Johnson City. It is also likely the city would see an increase in use at such a campus due to the critical mass of activities provided to the entire family.
Through this project we created the idea of a new Civic Campus that would offer the much needed replacement community, senior,arts, aquatic, and sports facilities, at a significant cost savings. It would also create a great public green space and provide a new prominent location for the eventual and much needed replacement of city hall as well as other public buildings. This catalytic project illustrated that looking at the long game could yield substantial gains for the city, including a jolt to help resuscitate the adjacent downtown area that, like so many small cities, had suffered over the last several decades.
We illustrated through a series diagrams how sequential phases could build upon each other to completely transform the area.
Johnson City is now working on the first phase of their new Civic Campus; their new Senior Center.
Lead Project Designer @ CDP.
Graphic Assistance: Dianna Osickey.