Cassopolis Municipal Building-Cassopolis, Michigan
The Village of Cassopolis, located in Cassopolis, Michigan, partnered with Wightman to undertake a sweeping transformation of their community that included a redesign of their downtown streetscape, creation of a new beach and adjacent park, and the addition of a lakeside boardwalk to connect their public spaces. In addition to those overhauls, the Village was also in desperate need of a new municipal facility. The former Village offices and Police departments were located on the second floor of a retrofit downtown building which was not ideal for police dispatch and cumbersome for community members to find. Their DPW office was a derelict building due for demolition a street away.
The new Municipal Complex was designed to combine all departments into one facility, resulting in 5,500-square-feet of office building and 11,700-square-feet of pre-engineered metal building warehouse. Tailoring the diverse needs of each department into one space proved to be an interesting challenge. The design of the building needed to cohesively fit into the surrounding rural vernacular, while conveying the importance of a municipal complex and housing a large equipment warehouse. Since this building is ultimately for the community, the Meeting Hall was to be presented as a focal point coming down Disbrow Street. The village offices and main entry required accessible access from the street parking while the DPW needed access to their equipment and dispatch at all hours without congesting the main road and parking. The Police also required similar ease of access to the building for faster response and to maintain visibility while also remaining secure from the rest of the building.
The design of the building allows for substantial natural light, taking advantage of high ceilings and clearstory windows throughout. The finishes promote a downtown beach atmosphere with natural elements and calming earth tones that contribute to a sense of collaboration and pride. The new complex satisfies the needs of Village officials and staff, police, and DPW employees, and most importantly, the citizens it serves.
The facility was honored with an American Institute of Architects Merit Award for 2020. Read that exciting news as published by Leader Publications.