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Sammamish unveils LEED-certified City Hall

The City of Sammamish recently unveiled its new City Hall, which features an environmentally savvy design and has received Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification.

Located on a high slope in the center of town - and on a piece of property that was once an egg farm - the new, $18 million city hall is part of the larger Sammamish Commons project, which includes 30 acres of land and features walking trails, play areas, picnic shelters, a skate park and a northwest garden and orchard.

Sammamish Commons also received LEED Silver certification, and city leaders intend for both Sammamish City Hall and the Sammamish Commons to serve as a LEED "showcase," where residents, builders and developers visiting the property can learn about environmentally sustainable building and construction.

"Our community has made it clear they want us to be good stewards of the environment," said City Manager Ben Yazici. "This certificate is wonderful validation."

As the city prepared for construction of the new commons and city hall, they received technical and financial assistance from King County's GreenTools program to help the city achieve LEED certification.

A program of King County's Solid Waste Division, GreenTools provides green building and development technical assistance, outreach and education to suburban cities, businesses, builders, developers and residents.

"The idea to go for LEED certification really came from King County Executive Ron Sims, who suggested that we challenge ourselves to reaching this goal, and the county's assistance in achieving it was very helpful," said Deputy City Manager Pete Butkus.

"I want to commend the City of Sammamish for its outstanding work in sustainable design and innovative use of construction materials," said Sims. "By recycling materials, reducing runoff and using energy efficient fixtures, Sammamish is serving as a great example for other communities to follow."

The new city hall building not only serves as the municipality's main administrative offices, but it also is an example of green building to residents and local businesses.

Construction features include locally-sourced building materials, which cut down on materials transportation costs and help to support local economies, windows that bring in abundant natural light, low flow water fixtures, and native grass and plants for landscaping.

In addition, the Commons property includes "grasscrete," a cellular paving system that incorporates grass into concrete, Along with porous asphalt, concrete and gravel trails, the materials all demonstrate ways to reduce the use of impervious surfaces and decrease runoff.

"We're very proud of the extra steps we took to control runoff in and around city hall, to cut down on energy usage and to create a healthy, comfortable work environment," said Sammamish Mayor Mark Cross. "This approach is a true reflection of our community's values."

"We gave neighboring property owners access to the six old barns on the property so the materials could be used to make improvements on their own barns," said project manager Sevda Baran, who oversaw key elements of the construction work.

One barn was completely disassembled and used to build a new structure off site, while remaining components of the barns were taken to recycling centers.

The new city hall will be both a practical place to conduct city business and a gathering place for the community. One of the major concepts of the project is to bring members of the community into the space and to educate and inspire them to create a greater sense of connectedness to the city.

"As Sammamish Commons becomes a gathering place for the community, our residents will absorb new ideas for softening their own impact on the environment," said City Councilmember Michelle Petitti.

The 30-acre Sammamish Commons project encompasses two distinct parcels that divide the project into upper and lower sites. The upper site spans 10 acres and features a civic plaza, skate park, sports court, climbing wall and the city hall building. The remaining 20 acres in the lower site include a protected wetland, walking trails, picnic shelters and play areas.

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