Location: Fairfield, California

Client: County of Solano

Solano County brought its various government departments together under one roof as part of a $113.5 million ‘smart-growth’ consolidation effort. The project consists of a six-story, 300,000 square foot administration building coupled with a five-level, 1,008-space parking garage equipped with a solar electric system and electric vehicle hook-ups, plus an adjacent two-story, 43,000 square foot probation building and a 25,000 square foot public plaza. The entire county campus stretches nearly three city blocks in downtown Fairfield and is located next to the County Courthouse and Justice Center, placing all important governmental functions close to one another.

The sleek administration building, the project’s crown jewel, now houses over 800 county employees, combining 16 departments from 15 different locations spread across two cities. The project embodies smart-growth strategies as an infill development located within walking distance of a multi-modal train station.

Despite its size and complexity, the project was completed early and within budget. Its timely completion was critical for county officials who had long outgrown their old 33,000 square foot headquarters, built in 1911. The county, which consists of seven cities spread across 906 square miles, had leased office space scattered throughout the valley and was paying $86,500 a month in rent. The government center consolidation provides easy access to public services and room to grow, with roughly 10% of the building left as unfinished interior space.

The 100-foot-tall administration building, a LEED Silver project, incorporates several sustainable features which include use of recyclable materials like concrete, steel and gypsum board, plus a “gray water” recovery system. The building also exceeds California’s Title 24 Energy Efficiency Standards by 10% using high efficiency fans and lamps, low ambient lighting systems and a photovoltaic panel system for solar energy. The overall project goal was to create a landmark building. The steel-framed, glass-sheathed building’s iconic look is marked by a distinctive six-story inverted pyramid at the main entrance. There also is a large double-height oval lobby anchored by a monumental staircase with broad landings, and decorated with publicly funded artwork. The project underscores community commitment by serving as a public gathering space for exhibits, press conferences and receptions.