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Community members weigh in on proposed improvement projects and give their feedback

PMG PHOTO: CLARA HOWELL  - Lake Oswego residents Shirley Gray, left, and Barbara Warren have been attending the ACC for social events for years and are looking forward to the proposed building improvements.If one thing's clear after speaking with community members about Lake Oswego's Adult Community Center (ACC), it's that challenging wayfinding, an inadequate HVAC system and an aging and ill-placed elevator are just a few areas of the facility that need serious improvement.

During the first of several planned open houses at the ACC Thursday, Nov. 7, community members had the opportunity to peruse potential renderings of floor plans, gain an understanding of the proposed building improvements and talk with Polymath Studio Architecture to have questions answered and to provide project feedback.

The project is will be funded through the $30 million parks bond that was passed in May.

"I think it's a great opportunity for the community to come out and actually provide input," said Cynthia Johnson, Lake Oswego resident. "The plans are in process but they're not done. People are really listening, the architects are listening, the City's listening, and it's just a good chance to see how to make the space work for everybody."

PMG PHOTO: CLARA HOWELL  - The ACC held an open house  Nov. 7 so community members could provide feedback on the proposed facility renovations and ask questions.While the 44-year-old building's footprint and square footage will remain the same, the facility has a number of proposed improvements including better accessibility, a more intuitive floor plan, improved restrooms and the relocation of the elevator and administrative offices to be more accessible.

"The existing building has a lot of character and a lot of charm and it's a great setting," said Polymath Principal Architect Sean Barnett. "It's been kind of gradually improved over the decades. In certain aspects it's kind of a mess, most specifically in terms of circulating your way through the building and wayfinding. It's not an intuitive building at all, particularly in the basement, so that's really been one of our priorities: to make it easier to find your way through the building and where you're supposed to go."

The building, which was constructed in 1975, also needs basic maintenance updates.

PMG PHOTO: CLARA HOWELL  - Sean Barnett, right, with Polymath Studio Architecture, explains the proposed floor renderings to community members."Our plumbing has galvanized pipes that have failed several times and caused leaks in the building," ACC Manager Ann Adrian said. "The heating and air conditioning systems are aging out and need to be replaced."

On the main floor the most notable changes will be with the entrance and the creation of a comfortable lobby and waiting area when folks walk inside.

"The idea is that now in the remodel, you're going to walk into the building, you're going to be greeted by a smiling face, you're going to see the elevator, the stairs and the main hallway," said Polymath Studio Architect Brendan Albano.

The elevator is currently at the end of the hall and reception is located off to the left, with other administration offices downstairs.

A handful of community members mentioned that the relocation of the elevator to the front of the building would be helpful.

West Linn resident Mike Berger, whose wife Peggy works with the respite program at the ACC, said a new elevator is a necessity because the current one is "old and decrepit," he said. "You might not want to go on it. You might get stuck on it."

PMG PHOTO: CLARA HOWELL  - Mike Berger and Sylvia Keller check out the proposed floor renderings at the ACC open house. He would also like to see the building spruced up and the HVAC system updated.

"The current one is hot-cold, hot-cold and there's a smell of mildew, stuff like that," he added.

On the lower level, one of the most significant changes will be the room configuration.

"When you walk down the stairs you're confronted with a blank concrete wall and are in a weird little hallway and it's very unclear where to go and it's very disorienting and confusing down there," said Albano, adding that one of the biggest goals is to improve the functionality of the basement to help people access classes and use the space more effectively. "We're not changing the total amount of space that there is but we are trying to let them have the ability to run more classes."

While there will be significant changes, there's one thing that will remain the same: the Pacific Northwest charm of the building.

PMG PHOTO: CLARA HOWELL  - Community members ask Polymath Studio architects questions to better understand the proposed ACC improvements and provide feedback. "We are trying to take some of the parts of the current environment that are really charming and people like, like all the wood and pitched roofs and the whole way the building is shaped," Albano said. "The way it's sort of nestled into the landscape has a very sort of woodsey Pacific Northwest attitude to it and we are definitely trying to preserve and accentuate that. The goal is not to change the vibe of the current place, but to enhance it."

According to Adrian, improvements could cost in the ballpark of $3.4 million.

Barnett said the earliest construction start date would be at the beginning of 2021, though the ACC is only 30% complete with the design development at this point in time.

"I think that one of the most valuable things from hearing from all the participants is hearing about how they as individuals and their peers use the informal spaces in the building," Albano said. "We don't want to lose how they value those spaces because those areas may get moved around or shifted."

"I think they've (the architects) done an excellent job with covering everything we need that we don't have now," added Lake Oswego resident Shirley Gray.


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