Building Blocks - Issue 41
Feb 07 2020 — Friday
- Project Focus: St. Mary's Church
- Employee Focus: New Employee - Alexis Behrens
- Employee Focus: Chris Clark becomes an RA
- Technology Focus: Interactive Documents
- Eastern West Virginia Community & Technical College
- Howard Concrete
- Blue Sulphur Springs
- Miners and Merchants Bank
Project Focus: St. Mary's Church
Mills Group was involved in the design of a 1,000-s.f. addition and complete rehabilitation of the historic St. Mary’s Church in Petersburg, WV. Constructed in 1919 in Kessel, WV, the small country church was disassembled and moved to its current location in Petersburg in the 1970s. In 2017 the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston contracted Mills Group to assist with the addition of the church which included a sacristy, restrooms, kitchenette, and secondary gathering space for parishioners. Services included interior design, furniture selection, and construction administration
After exploring several different conceptual options for encompassing the program requirements, the committee ultimately agreed upon the construction of a new building connected to the historic church with a contemporary glass-walled vestibule. Mills Group then compiled construction documents for the new building and the complete rehabilitation of the interior of the original church, including the reconstruction of the balcony and expansion of the altar area. Mills Group architects and historians worked closely with the contractor and structural engineers through the entire project. The new addition and renovated historic church building were completed just in time for the historic church building’s centennial, and the new space was dedicated in December of 2019.
Employee Focus: New Employee - Alexis Behrens
Alexis Behrens, a West Virginia native, joined Mills Group as the Director of Interior Design. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Interior Design from WVU & brings nearly three decades of interior design experience specializing in construction project management of various healthcare, office, behavior health, hospitality and day care spaces. With each project, Alexis strives to make each space warm and welcoming for each person. Professionally she is most proud of her two years spent as the Chairman of the NCIDQ Practicum Committee and her years as one of the 8-person committee that wrote several of the Interior Design Qualifying exams. Alexis has been certified as an Interior Designer for over 20 years.
Outside of the office, Alexis enjoys travelling, hiking, scouting and drawing. She lives with her husband of 27 years and two teenaged children, Inez and Will, in Bridgeport, WV. She is also involved in the Boy Scouts of America as the Venturing Crew 14 Advisor, and Troop 14 Committee Chair. She has been a leader and member of the GFWC (General Federation of Woman’s Clubs) WV Juniors and Bridgeport Juniors for 25 years.
Employee Focus: Chris Clark becomes an RA
Chris Clark has recently passed the Architect Registration Exam (ARE) making him a registered architect (RA). Chris studied Architecture at Kent State University and has nearly two decades of experience in the architecture field. Since starting employment with Mills Group in 2014, his roles have included Project Manager and Designer. He is our go-to resource for commercial and hospitality projects such as hotels, retail, food services/eateries, corporate headquarters and more. We are proud to add to the list of registered architects at Mills Group. Well done, Chris!
Technology Focus: Interactive Documents
Mills Group projects often require adherence to strict federal and state guidelines that dictate responsible preservation, life safety, and sound architectural practices. Oftentimes, these guidelines can be very complex and involved without the help of a knowledgeable advisor. Our firm prides itself on being able to take the complexity of these practices and distill them into functioning, intuitive, and user-friendly formats.
In an effort to better assist our clients navigate these often difficult guidelines, we hand-craft interactive PDF documents that guide users, step-by-step, through each phase. Whether it be creating linear, choice-based pathways or labyrinthine, multi-branching procedures, we transform the complicated into the concise.
Documents such as our Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit Interactive Roadmap highlight the steps involved in determining whether a project is eligible to receive tax credits, and then guides users through the application process. Using a straightforward single-choice interface and a clickable flow chart that can lead users to any step in the progression, this document helps to ensure that no important steps are missed on the way to a successful rehabilitation project.
Eastern West Virginia Community & Technical College
Mills Group and CMTA worked with Eastern WV Community & Technical College hosted a design charrette meant to help design a multi-purpose, net-zero structure with timber framing vernacular on Eastern’s Moorefield campus that serves as a community development center and houses initiatives for the advancement of workforce education, small business development, entrepreneurship, and five economic development sectors: advanced manufacturing, agriculture, arts, tourism, and technology.
The design and how it integrates into the campus's master plan was another important factor to investigate as the teams worked to integrate smart engineering and zero energy techniques into a plan that would help the campus stand as a progressive, technological icon for years to come.
Mills Group designed a multi-story office and warehouse facility for the headquarters of Howard Concrete in Houston, PA. The contemporary building features a modern brick and glass façade and soaring double-height entry vestibule with dramatic open staircase. In addition to a storage warehouse, the complex is outfitted with an inviting reception area, several private offices, conference rooms, and an employee break room. The interiors of the building incorporate materials reminiscent of the company’s legacy of concrete, including modern wallcoverings and tile, balanced with the application of warm natural materials and finishes. Construction of the project began in the fall of 2018.
Blue Sulphur Springs
Rehabilitation efforts continue at the Blue Sulphur Springs Pavilion in Greenbrier County. In 2013, a nonprofit group, Friends of the Blue, was established to ensure the continued preservation and eventual reuse of the ca. 1836 pavilion. Working with the nonprofit group, Mills Group completed a historic structure report and helped to complete drainage, masonry, and roofing projects as temporary measures in the long-term preservation of the pavilion. Despite the completion of these needed repairs, the site surrounding the pavilion remains relatively saturated, continuously undermining the stability of the brick and stone structure.
In order to ensure the continued preservation of this irreplaceable historic resource, the West Virginia State Historic Preservation Office awarded Friends of the Blue with a development grant in 2019. Upon receipt of this grant, Friends of the Blue once again contracted with Mills Group to develop a plan for the stabilization of the structure. Mills Group is now working with engineers, historic masonry specialists, and drainage experts to develop bidding documents for needed dewatering activities before additional structural stabilization activities can take place.
Miners and Merchants Bank
The Grand Opening of the new facility for Miners and Merchants Bank was held in September 2019. Mills Group partnered with Pray Construction on the design and construction of the new, two-story Miners and Merchants Bank Headquarters located in Thomas, WV.
The design of the 7,966 sq. ft., full-service Bank is was inspired by the local architecture and notable buildings within the community. The exterior architecture features brick and stone walls with glue-laminated columns and a timber-framed entrance and drive-thru canopies. The spacious drive-thru was specially designed to accommodate the large trucks and vehicles common to the local customer base. The interior architecture is comprised of wood-frame construction, a large open lobby with coffered ceiling, four teller stations, administration offices, and a large board room located on the second floor. The interior design details and light fixtures were also inspired by the local timber and mining industries.