Posted by Heidi Schwartz
The official opening of the Mother Clara Hale Depot in Manhattan, NY was celebrated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new bus transportation facility. The depot originally opened for limited service on November 23, 2014; it will accommodate 150 buses once it becomes fully operational in January 2015.
The Mother Clara Hale Depot was built in 1890 as a trolley barn and was modified in 1939 to become the 146 St Bus Depot. It was rehabilitated in 1990 and renamed to honor Mother Clara McBride Hale in 1993. In January 2009, NYC Transit began demolition to rebuild the depot for modern bus operations. Testing and commissioning activities started in March 2014, with final completion in November 2014 of the $262 million project.
The new 400,000-square-foot depot is a three-story structure that includes maintenance areas and an administrative wing. The renovated structure replaces an aging facility with a state-of-the-art depot that meets the city’s transportation needs while minimizing its impact on the surrounding neighborhood. From planning and design through construction, the process has involved the full participation of the Mother Clara Hale Depot Community Task Force.
NYC Transit worked with Harlem-based advocacy group WEACT and local officials to involve the community in the depot’s design, which emphasized environmental mitigations. The final result includes LEED certification; a green roof that uses plants to cool the facility, absorbs CO2 from the air, and reduces storm-water runoff; thermal insulation to save energy and reduce emissions; a solar wall that serves as a passive heating device; rainwater collection for water treatment to wash buses; cost-effective and energy efficient heat recovery units on the roof for a heat exchanger, and a high efficiency white roof that will prevent heat gain in warmer weather but will not reflect light onto nearby buildings or cause glare.
“Thanks to this project, the city has a new, environmentally friendly transportation facility that also addresses the needs of the community,” said STV executive chairman Dominick M. Servedio, P.E. As part of the design-build team with Silverite Construction, STV served as the architect- and engineer-of-record, and provided building information modeling (BIM) services.
Located on the site of a former trolley barn in the Harlem section of Manhattan, the building has been transformed into a new sustainable bus depot that is on target to earn LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certification. LEED® design elements include a green roof to reduce the building’s carbon footprint, and a rainwater collection system that will allow storm water to be used for depot operations such as bus washing.
“The opening of the Mother Clara Hale Bus Depot in Manhattan demonstrates tremendous green building leadership,” said Rick Fedrizzi, CEO and founding chair, USGBC. “This building will be used heavily, but its impact on the environment and its demand for energy from the grid will be lessened by the features incorporated by STV.”
The depot’s facade features the first artwork project commissioned by the MTA Arts & Design for a bus depot. Local artist Shinique Smith was commissioned to create “Mother Hale’s Garden,” a large-scale mosaic piece installed on the east facade of the building facing Lenox Avenue (see photo above), and laminated glass artwork in windows on the north and south sides of the building.