It is at once one of the oldest, and youngest, neighborhoods in Saint Paul. Saint Paul’s historic, culturally diverse east side is home to nearly half the city’s youth, but up until now has had few resources for young people. The newly-built Arlington Hills Community Center seeks to fill the gap with a vibrant facility offering a variety of dedicated and shared amenities for all ages, designed to promote community spirit.
Six years in the planning, the 40,000 s.f. project marks the first time the City’s Parks and Recreation and Public Library have joined in offering public services in a joint facility. Recreation and library staff are cross-training to support shared programs.
Designed by HGA Architects, the facility replaces a smaller recreation center and library with an innovative joint facility with resources for all ages to promote literacy, active lifestyles, lifelong learning, community dialog, teamwork, volunteerism and intergenerational activities. Highlights include:
• 7,213 s.f. dedicated library space
• 9,600 s.f. dedicated recreation space with fitness center, gym, and an upper-level walking track
• Shared program spaces including 4,663 s.f. community rooms; as well as a 2,480 s.f. teen digital learning lab. The community learning center offers computer labs, assistance with resume writing and job-hunting, English conversation circles and computer classes in Spanish, Karen and English.
• 17,199 s.f. common area space
• Town Square Plaza, in front of the building, provides a venue for hosting community events.
The building and site have been developed in conformance with Saint Paul’s Sustainable Buildings ordinance and Minnesota Buildings, Benchmarks and Beyond (B3) sustainability guidelines. Sustainable components include:
• A geothermal heating and cooling system which is projected to save over $40,000 per year over traditional heating and cooling, with a payback of 2.9 years.
• High-efficiency lighting, energy management systems, and low water usage devices
• Reclaimed elm tree “Wood from the Hood” and materials containing recycled components
• Improved air quality, lighting management and heat island impact
• A total 78% of all construction waste was recycled.
• Stormwater management system including on-site infiltration of all stormwater from roofs and impervious surfaces for up to a five-year event.
Kraus-Anderson and minority partner Reiling Construction worked to provide women and minority participation. The project achieved 32.8% VOP (participation in Vendor Outreach Program vendors); 19.1% minority and 4.7% female labor hours.
“The comprehensive development is hoped to provide a catalyst for investment in the neighborhood and support services for the region,” said Brian Tourtelotte, project manager for the City of St. Paul’s Department of Parks and Recreation. “We are also grateful to Kraus-Anderson for the level of organization and coordination they provided to help form a vibrant center for the community.”