The Lansing Board of Water & Light held a meeting on Wednesday, August 16 for all previous charette participants to unveil the final design for the Central Substation exterior walls. Ken Jones of Studio Intrigue and Bob Ford of Landscape Architects & Planners, Inc. gave the final presentation.
“I’m very pleased that the community contributed key elements of the final design of the Central Substation exterior walls,” said General Manager Dick Peffley. “Their input is visible throughout the project’s design and reflects our continued commitment to making the design process open and collaborative.”
Three design charettes were previously held in December 2016, and January and February of this year to hear input from the public on the substation’s wall height and what materials should be used for the walls and other design elements. Charrette suggestions incorporated into the final design include:
- Timeless brick building-like design to bring out more “REO town grit”
- 3 iconic Eckert Power Station stacks element for grand entrance to REO Town at corner of S. Washington and Malcom X (northeast corner)
- Plaza designed for community events (southeast corner)
- Wall set back from Washington Ave. (east wall)
- Public art opportunities
- Green wall element (northwest corner)
- Window element to allow natural light through wall
- Portholes to see inside substation (south wall)
Construction of the $27.9 million Central Substation is expected to begin on Monday, August 21, with the stone-by-stone deconstruction of the Scott Sunken Garden to follow. The project is expected to create approximately 75 construction jobs and be completed by the fall of 2018.
In addition, the BWL will support public art to be placed along the Washington Ave. substation wall by funding an RFP up to $20,000 every three years. The RFP public arts review team will include representatives of the BWL, City of Lansing, REO Town Commercial Association and the Arts Council of Greater Lansing.
The BWL will also make a $40,000 endowment that will provide resources to help maintain the Scott Sunken Garden, such as a gardener, garden supplies, maintenance and/or plant material. This fund will accept contributions from the community in order for garden support to continue in the future.
The Central Substation will be located at the southwest corner of S. Washington Ave. and W. Malcolm X St., and will create a link between downtown Lansing and REO Town and increase access to Cooley Gardens and the Scott Sunken Garden. The innovative project will also create several new recreational uses, including: a walkway from Washington Ave. to Townsend St.; loop trails connecting existing pedestrian system to new walkways; new pathway from Capital Ave. connecting to Cooley Gardens; and wayfinding signs on Malcolm X, Washington Ave. and Townsend St. It will also replace the existing parking lot. The project will later include viewing and fishing platforms along the Grand River and a new staircase connecting the River Trail to Washington Ave.
The project is part of BWL’s plan to replace the Eckert Power Station and adjoining Eckert Substation in order to continue providing affordable and reliable power to its customers. The Central Substation is part of Lansing Energy Tomorrow, the BWL’s major electric modernization program to replace and upgrade aging infrastructure with clean, efficient and reliable generation and transmission assets. Lansing Energy Tomorrow is an extensive five-year, $101 million Transmission & Distribution (T & D) Improvement Project that is already underway and includes: new transmission lines; five new or rebuilt substations; reducing the number of circuits and the amount of customer demand at the Eckert substation, and; adding capacitor banks at strategic points on the BWL’s transmission system.