Municipal Projects



Dutchess County Family Court
Dutchess County Courts Capital Master Plan and Family Court Building - Poughkeepsie, NY
Dutchess County Family Street Scape Model
Dutchess County Family Court Street Scape Model
Dutchess County Family Court Steel Erection
Dutchess Count Family Court Steel Erection
Circulation Path
Circulation 2


The core of the Amended Capital Plan revolves around a comprehensive site  plan of a centralized "Super Block" of county services in the heart of downtown Poughkeepsie.  One facet of the project was to effectively utilize land already owned by Dutchess County to provide efficient, user friendly services to its constituents.

The hub of the complex is the County Office Building, with the Supreme and Criminal courts to the north and the Family Court and Social Services building to the south.  This arrangement was designed to establish a buffer zone between the security sensitive  Supreme and Criminal Courts and the family services Family Court and Social Services.  Another crucial element of the Amended Capital Plan involved the placement of a parking deck to the west of the complex, solving the problems of inconvenience to the general public and lack of handicapped accessibility.

The first phase involved the construction of a new 70,000 square foot Family Court Building and the renovation of the existing Supreme and Criminal Court Building. 

In the Family Court Building the primary users would be families in distress, therefor the facility needed to be as user friendly as possible.  The structure needed to be compatible with the nearby historic buildings.  This goal was accomplished through close teamwork between the Office of Courts Administration, the  Commission of Corrections, the State Historic Preservation Organization and Local Judiciary Branch.

Traffic flow and the degree of security required for each department within the facility were key design issues.  Probation was placed on the ground floor to expedite the processing of the heavier traffic flow.  A separate secure lobby for the family court was also located on the first floor.  The  Family Court Clerk and the Law Library were placed on the second floor to facilitate processing.  Security sensitive areas, including the Court Rooms, Chambers, and  Hearing Rooms, were placed on the third floor.  This layout effectively partitioned the two functions of the building.

The renovations to the existing Supreme and Criminal Courts consisted of space reallocation and the addition of a prisoner control annex.  The existing layout compromised the rights of the defendants and failed to reasonably secure the safety of the staff and the general public.  By moving all of the court rooms to one end of the building and providing a separate prisoner access point, prisoners were kept  isolated until called to the witness stand.

Another function of the addition was the  integration of two separate buildings to streamline traffic between  the components of the complex.  A paved pathway was installed to facilitate the procession of jurors from the Old City Hall, housing the Commissioner of Jurors, to the courthouse and Grand Jury.  An innovative elevator system reduced  prisoner traffic to the minimum flow possible.  The Court Officers were placed above the prisoner holding area to reduce response time in the event of an incident, insuring the safety of the building’s occupants.

Command Center Monitoring Area
Command Center Conference Area

With the challenges that 911 imposed on our nation, the New York Bridge Authority was directed by the Governor to update its security plan for its multiple brides.  Once a strategy was formulated, it became apparent the best way to implement their plan was to create a “command center”.  This center would allow the monitoring of all bridges in one location.

Now in place, the facility features state-of-the-art surveillance and communication equipment providing a platform for the coordination of local, regional and national law enforcement agencies.

Town of Wappingers Falls Emergency Services
Town of Wappinger Emergency Services and Police Facility - Wappingers Falls, NY

Two autonomous components, a community ambulance service and a division of the New York State Police.

One of the most unique aspects of this project was the innovative lease agreement.  In a time of public outcry against high taxes, financing was a sensitive issue.  Our office played a key role in negotiations between the Town Administration, the State Budget Office, and the Local Ambulance Company, to accomplish this project without an additional tax levy.

Although several sites were considered, the final location was chosen because of its position next to the existing Town Hall.  This enabled the Emergency Services Facility to become the second part of a proposed three building municipal campus, thus centralizing community services.  Because the site was 75% protected wetlands, The Swartz Architectural Group, PC worked closely with the Department of Environmental Conservation to place the structure so as to minimize environmental impact while still achieving a campus effect.                            
Because the 15,000 square foot structure was to house two autonomous components, a community ambulance service and a division of the New York State Police Troop K, careful balance of space consideration and traffic patterns was required.  In addition, the traffic flow had to be compatible with the existing setup for the Town Hall.

The Police required complex security provisions, while the ambulance service areas needed to be streamlined to reduce response time.  Some design components for the space occupied for the ambulance service were a community meeting room, executive and administrative offices, crews quarters, dispatch, and storage for six vehicles with direct access to the street.  The area occupied by the police included zone administrative office, B.C.I. and squad rooms, a locker/shower facility and garage.

Beacon Center
County Department of Mental Hygiene, Health, Veterans Affairs, Probation and the Department of Motor Vehicles - Beacon, NY

Developed at  a time when Dutchess County wanted to provide community oriented services from various locations throughout the county, this center is it’s southern most satellite.  Located in Dutchess County’s second largest city, this project was a highly visible manifestation of the county’s commitment to the revitalization program of Beacon’s inner city region.  The building consolidated many offices previously located in scattered rental properties into one new facility.

The project included massive structural renovations that the existing building needed to conform with current code requirements, and the addition of a new two-story entry tower.  Interiors were designed and color schemes selected throughout the entire structure, while the exterior brick surfaces were re-pointed.  A new stair and elevator where incorporated in the design to provide a positive aesthetic effect.

The extensive cabinetry for the Department of Motor Vehicles was designed to both conform to space constraints and to function efficiently for the multiple aspects involved in daily business.  This required an in depth understanding of the day to day tasks and challenges faced by the employees and the people they served.

As the revitalization program was still in its infancy, security was also a primary concern.  To insure the safety of both the occupants of the building and the property, a state-of -the-art security station was designed.  From its corner location in the new entry tower, security personnel had direct sight of the two sides of the building and the bordering streets.  In addition, closed-circuit-television was installed to cover the entire grounds as well as the interior of the building. 
Another function of the addition was to reorient the entry to the building so as to have a central entrance that provided vertical circulation for all floors.  This also enabled security personnel to monitor the flow of traffic in and out of the building, as well as on and off the site.

One unique aspect of the project was the creation of the parking facility as an urban park.  The 92-bay parking lot provided convenient access to the facility without contributing to the "asphalt jungle" effect.  This was accomplished through areas of open lawn, trees and shrubbery chosen to contribute to the park-like atmosphere with out jeopardizing the safety of the building users.  The tasteful use of different elevations, landscaped islands, and barrier walls also added to the effect.  The security features were installed discretely
so as to protect the area without creating an atmosphere of cynicism.

Urban Revitalization Project Village of Wappingers Falls, NY

URBAN REVITALIZATION PROJECT - Village of Wappingers Falls, NY

As complex as the architectural and planning issues of urban revitalization may become, they are dwarfed by the often-times diametrically opposing “agendas” of it’s participants.  This was the case as we worked in several municipalities with the New York State Urban Development Corporation, a subsidiary of the Empire State Development Corp.

Our greatest challenge was the coordination of our goals for proper restoration and preservation of the historic properties, with the short and long term goals of  the business owners and the financial constraints and conditions of the State.  Common ground was found in that all parties wanted to improve the overall appearance and character of the Towns and Villages.

Property owners were given a 50% matching grant for all improvements which qualified for funding on the facade only - structural repairs were the responsibility of the owners.  While restoring the buildings to their original splendor, it was imperative to maintain the budget imposed by the Urban Development Corp.  Consequently, the concerns and needs of the owners and occupants of the properties were balanced with the objectives of the design team, as well as with the financial constraints placed on the project.