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Monroe County’s Civic Center Plaza Rehabilitation Wins APWA Project of the Year Award

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The Monroe County Civic Center Plaza Rehabilitation Project in Rochester, New York, has been recognized as 2012 Project of the Year by the Genesee Valley Chapter of the American Public Works Association (APWA). T.Y. Lin International (TYLI) led the six-member design team and Crane-Hogan Structural Systems, Inc. spearheaded the work of four construction firms.

The Project of the Year Award recognizes excellence in the management and administration of public works projects by recognizing the partnership between the managing agency, the engineer, and a contractor who together have led to a successful completion of a public works project.

Winner in the Structural Projects $5 - $25 Million Category, this project transformed Monroe County’s Civic Center Plaza and Parking Garage from a chronically leaking structure and “sterile, uninviting space” into a fully protected parking garage and the largest green roof in Western New York.

The Monroe County Civic Center Plaza and Parking Garage is a unique facility with the roof of the parking garage serving as a more than three-acre public plaza for the Civic Center. When the existing waterproofing membrane of the plaza failed, it caused considerable leakage in the garage and other occupied space below the plaza. TYLI completed a condition assessment and developed rehabilitation plans. The design team’s solution to the leaking issues was a unique redundant waterproofing system, an advancement over typical one-layer protection systems. An electronic leak detection system was also incorporated to identify any unlikely future membrane breaches.

Once the practical issues were resolved, the design focused on transforming the hardscaped plaza into a green roof with a park-like appearance. For this portion of the project, a host of security challenges, which could have threatened the adjacent public courts and County jail, were addressed. Today, panels of lawn and mass sedum plantings provide large areas of green space. A variety of trees in raised planters ensure color throughout the seasons. The green roof is a model of sustainability and reduces rain water runoff into the storm water system by 30%. Additional rain water is captured in a 24,000-gallon rain water harvesting system which provides irrigation to the green roof. The County’s weekly savings for the roof system is 24,000 gallons of domestic water use. Further savings are realized with energy efficient lighting which reduces wattages by 50%.

This project was completed with the assistance of federal stimulus funds through the Green Initiative Grant Program. In order to meet the grant requirements and internal County timelines, this $10M project had to proceed from concept design to bid documents in only seven weeks. A project of this magnitude normally requires a six- to eight-month design cycle.