Cassopolis Municipal Complex wins AIA Southwest Michigan Merit Award

CASSOPOLIS — New construction in Cassopolis has not gone unnoticed, evidenced by a recent award from the American Institute of Architects of Southwest Michigan.

The new Cassopolis Municipal Complex, 121 N. Disbrow, was recently recognized with a Merit Award from the AIA of Southwest Michigan. The building was submitted for the award by architecture firm Wightman, which completed the design. This marks Wightman’s second AIA Merit award in two years.

“Wightman is dedicated to serving our clients by building a stronger community where we live and work,” said Greg Monberg, Wightman’s director of architecture. “It is gratifying to see our team recognized for delivering a great facility for Cassopolis. Our team across our services in survey, engineering, architecture, interior design and landscape architecture created a facility that will serve the community for many years to come. Project Architect Shelby Kintz and Interior Designer Casey Bourdo deserve the recognition for their close work with the client and design talents in bringing their vision to reality.”

Kintz said she was proud of the work done on the building, believing it to be functional while still remaining true to the village’s personality.

“As a young female architect, receiving these kinds of awards is extra gratifying because it’s not always something you get to do early on in your career,” she said. “To be able to take a project and a client this big and run with it and win an award on it was a really great boost of confidence, as well as helping to make my company look great.”

Opened last fall, the municipal building was designed to incorporate all village departments, including government offices and public works building, into one facility at one central location. The 5,500 square foot office building features a large community hall chamber where elections and meetings can be held, secure access for the police department staff, and several conference rooms and private offices. The large Department of Public Works warehouse offers 11,700 square feet of space that houses the department’s various trucks, supplies, and equipment and allows for easy access into and out of the building, alleviating a congested parking lot.

Since the building has been open, Village Manager Emilie Sarratore said it had proven its value by decreasing utility costs, promoting collaboration across village departments and allowing residents to better access services.

“I think [the complex] has already allowed us to serve our residents better and will continue to do that,” she said.

Sarratore said she was pleased the building was recognized by the AIA of Southwest Michigan.

“I think the award does a few things,” she said. “It brings attention and recognition to Cassopolis, which is a good thing because we have a lot of great things going on. I also think it sets the tone for how we are doing things, how we are operating, and how we are moving forward. We are spending the time and effort to ensure the right attention is going into each and every one of these projects so that they are done well, they are done professionally, and they are done with the community in mind.”

Both Kintz and Sarratore said the new municipal complex is just the beginning for Cassopolis. The village and Wightman are currently working together on a number of projects soon to be unveiled in Cassopolis, including its streetscape and beach/pier projects.

“I think these will be a great addition to the village of Cassopolis,” Kintz said. “I hope they really fulfill the vision of revitalizing the area and bringing more people downtown and helping to make it a real destination.”

“This is the first award of many that we will likely receive for some of these projects that are rolling out,” Sarratore added. “This is exciting, and it shows that just because you are a small town, that doesn’t mean you can’t do big things.”

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