BNIM Architects planners Steve Hardy and Rachel Wedel spent a good deal of the Greensburg City Council Work Session last Wednesday updating those present on the progress of their firm’s development of the city’s master plan.

  BNIM Architects planners Steve Hardy and Rachel Wedel spent a good deal of the Greensburg City Council Work Session last Wednesday updating those present on the progress of their firm’s development of the city’s master plan.
   They also informed the group the date of Thursday, December 20, has been set for a community meeting to be held at the gym of the temporary school, to not only inform residents of the status of the master plan and its details, but also provide opportunity for feedback on those developments.
  “Because we’re holding this community meeting a couple of weeks later than originally planned, completion of the master plan will be put off till mid-January, rather than January 2, to give us time to implement the feedback we receive,” Hardy said.
   He also indicated the December 20 meeting, set for 6 p.m., will be surrounded both that day and the next, Friday, December 21, by a series of working seminars designed to familiarize engineers and architects with the design goals outlined in the master plan.
   Hardy then used a power point presentation to give examples of how earlier identified goals of the vision document are in turn supported by guiding principles.  Each principle is further buttressed by techniques BNIM is developing as ways to practically implement the underlying principles/goals.
   Under, for instance the “Built Environment” goal, lie the principles of “creating healthy indoor environments” and “building performance.”  A pair of techniques drafted for achieving a higher level of “building performance” includes encouraging the use of high efficiency appliances in homes, and intentionally designing structures to last a minimum of 100 years.
   Under the goal of wise use of “Energy” is an identified principle of “creating efficiency of all end use,” which, in turn, has yielded such techniques as:
nUse of street lights of the highest efficiency;
nNew construction being designed to reduce base electrical load.
  The nature of such practical “techniques” designed to achieve principles and their overarching goals will be up for consideration and comment at the December 20 meeting.
   Hardy told the group the City would likely want to consider the possibility of passing an ordinance that would at least encourage government buildings to be built to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards, as well as think of what level of efficiency in the LEED hierarchy might be aimed for.  Those four levels, in ascending order are from certified, to silver, to gold to platinum.
   “As you up the ante (in levels of LEED criteria), where’s the point of no return?” asked Mayor John Janssen.
    Hardy replied that in regard to Platinum levels, the break-even point typically comes after 30 years, in terms of energy savings paying for the extra cost of building to that higher level of efficiency.
   In other matters…
nHardy displayed a couple of sketches of a possible design of US 54, saying his firm has gotten the impression from the community of a desire to make the highway “Greensburg’s boulevard”.  Drawings illustrated a planted, center median of 16 feet in width, bordered on either side by a pair of 11-foot wide driving lanes, in addition to a 20-foot wide amenity zone between storefronts and the curb.
nHardy touched on the possibility of Studio 804—a not-for-profit design/build program in KU’s school of architecture—designing and constructing a unique, efficient home for Greensburg.  The group has designed and built such a home each of the last several years in blighted neighborhoods of both Kansas City and Lawrence.
   “These are modular homes, in that they’re built there in sections and then reassembled on site,” Hardy said, “but they’re not your typical looking dwellings.” 
   He went on to say Studio 804 is “very interested” in “coming to Greenburg and doing a project,” noting the program can now incorporate such conventional looks as “gabled roofs.”  Hardy further said the program “may be interested in doing a second project here in addition to a home.”
nAs talk turned to ongoing efforts to convince KDOT to add an east and west bound exit to the future US 54 freeway, Hardy asked if “anything less than two full exits either way” would “make people happy.”
   Janssen suggested the second eastbound exit might better be located near the Centerview Road, rather than within city limits.
   “It gives some separation between the two exits, which they (KDOT) should like,” said Janssen, “plus, it gives better access to where the new BTI location will be.”
   Janssen further noted the US 183 interchange a mile west of town, would, in effect, give a serviceable second westbound exit to Greensburg.
    Councilman Gary Goodheart cautioned against pushing “KDOT too far to where we lose everything.  I worry about going backwards from where we are if we do that.”