Vermont State Complex Rebuilds After Flood

Hit hard by Tropical Storm Irene in 2011, the Waterbury State Office Complex Redevelopment is one of the public works projects recognized in 2017 by the American Public Works Association.

The Waterbury State Office Complex Redevelopment project in Vermont has been named a 2017 Public Works Project of the Year by the American Public Works Association (APWA). The project is being honored with APWA’s Project of the Year award in the Disaster or Emergency Construction/Repair at a cost of more than $75 million category.

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Waterbury (VT) State Office Complex (Photo: Westphalen Photography, courtesy of PC Construction)

The APWA Public Works Projects of the Year awards are presented annually to promote excellence in the management and administration of public works projects, recognizing the alliance between the managing agency, contractor, consultant and their cooperative achievements. This year, APWA selected projects in five categories including: Disaster/Emergency, Environment, Historical Restoration, Structures, and Transportation.

When Tropical Storm Irene swept through Vermont in 2011, it flooded nearly every river and stream in the state. The Village of Waterbury, VT was hard hit including the Waterbury State Office Complex, located on the banks of the Winooski River. The entire state was ravaged and more than 1,500 state employees were displaced to other locations around Vermont.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Town of Waterbury, and community partners responded with a plan for the restoration and redevelopment of the historic complex. The plan identified several initiatives, including a new site plan designed for flood plain restoration.

For this 2017 APWA award, the project team includes the State of Vermont through the Department of Buildings and General Services as the managing agency; PC Construction as the primary contractor; and Freeman French Freeman as the primary consultant who will be presented with the award during APWA’s 2017 PWX, Public Works Expo, annual conference taking place in the Orlando Orange County Convention Center in August 2017. Goody Clancy is the preservation architect on the project.

To rebuild the Waterbury State Office Complex, the design team led by Freeman French Freeman Architects and the State of Vermont (through the Department of Buildings and General Services) worked to incorporate the objectives of all stakeholders to set a strategy and schedule to achieve the project goals. PC Construction put the project management plan into action that included deconstruction of 21 flood-prone buildings to make room for the new 86,000 square foot steel-framed office building, while simultaneously constructing the new 20,000 square foot steel-framed central plant and maintenance facility with wood biomass boilers and emergency generators. The work also included the restoration of the 13 buildings comprising the historic core to their original grandeur.

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Site plan for Waterbury State Offices Complex (Source:

Given its location on the banks of the Winooski River, reducing flood risk was a primary emphasis, and existing buildings received innovative foundation improvements to mitigate potential for future flooding. New and renovated buildings were also elevated and all occupied areas are now six inches above the 500-year flood level.

The complex was dedicated in December 2015.