Central Oregon Architects Put Projects on the Drawing Board


Anticipating public, private sector and commercial work to grow.

Anywhere you travel in Central Oregon you’ll find something under construction, which bodes well for the architects who designed these projects. The economic recovery is apparent in Central Oregon as architectural firms are generally adding to their staffs. Several local architectural firms have projects not only regionally but around the country. Design and remodel projects are often due to owners refurbishing existing buildings and purchasing new facilities to add to the company’s growth.

“From our perspective, Central Oregon’s commercial and multifamily architecture continues to rebound as low vacancy rates put pressure on the market,” offers Seth E. Anderson, Principal Architect at Ascent Architecture & Interiors.

Anderson says they have doubled their staff size since the end of 2013. “This has given us more bandwidth for large projects while maintaining the quality of service our clients expect. We’re seeing owners reinvesting in their existing buildings and purchasing underutilized buildings to rehabilitate or adapt. Business owners are expanding their companies’ sizes and adding locations.

“Vacant land is also trading hands, which should lead to new commercial-construction growth,” adds Anderson. “Many properties we’ve studied present complex issues, such as zone restrictions, easements and natural features. We’ve worked to develop unique and viable solutions for clients who own these challenging properties. We expect that in 2015 Ascent’s team will have the opportunity to work on interesting projects while serving the needs of our clients.”

“Following a tremendous 2014, 2015 is looking to be another bright year for BBT Architects,” says Todd Turner, AIA, Principal, BBT Architects. “We are in the design phase on some exciting new projects and completing construction on a number of projects. The new Robberson Ford building is just finishing up, design has been completed on four new medical projects at Shevlin Health & Wellness Center, the new Bend Middle School is in construction phase and construction has begun on two new elementary schools in Pendleton. We are completing the design of educational facilities at Culver and started design for a new elementary school in Sherman County.

“The firm recently announced our long time Senior Associate Al Levage has become a principal and shareholder in the company, alongside a growing staff of 16 including seven licensed architects. BBT is incredibly excited for the upcoming year and what it will bring. We are anticipating that public, private sector and commercial work will continue to grow at a steady pace.”

Darren Thomas of darren thomas architecture + planning LLC says his current top project is the Trend Offices @ NWX (official project name). “The number of projects I’m currently working on are at an all-time high for my firm which I started in 2005,” explains Thomas. “I currently have 15 commercial and custom residential in various phases from conceptual design through to construction. And I’m getting inquiries every week for new projects so I don’t expect things to slow down this year.”

Steele Associates Architects has definitely been experiencing more project activity since the last half of 2014 and it does not appear to be waning. “So we’re feeling very good about a robust 2015,” says Scott T. Steele, President, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP of Steele Associates Architects LLC.

“The economic growth isn’t just creating projects for us in Central Oregon, as a significant part of our work is out of the region and in other states such as Washington and Arizona. Our ability to export our design services beyond our region adds to local economic growth due to the expansion of our firm and the fact that it is locally owned and operated.
“Strong development sectors include housing, senior care, health care, industrial/hi-tech, and education. It’s exciting to be looking at numerous retail/commercial projects again too. Our retail/commercial clients are becoming much more active again and have us looking at various potential new developments. We welcome the current economic activity and find it exciting and energizing.

“Steele Associates is working hard with the Bend LaPine School District on the new prototype elementary school, and we can’t wait to see it complete and ready to serve the community. We’re also in the midst of the much needed remodel designs for Bend Senior High School and R.E. Jewell Elementary. It’s a bit nostalgic getting to work on the school I graduated from in 1980, and we’re looking forward to helping improve the quality of its educational spaces for future Lava Bears and Jewell students.”

RJ Johnson, architect and project manager for BLRB Architects says the continuation of a strong 2014 is already representative here in early 2015, with industrial, commercial and multi-family residential property vacancy rates at extreme lows. “This strength is evident with the projects currently on our boards or in construction, and our three new staff members [12 total] who will execute this exciting new work,” notes Johnson.

“The stylized design for the 147-unit Bellevue Apartments adjacent to Worthy Brewery will implement a contemporary residential edge to the mix of building types in this area. The development energy surrounding the Arizona/Colorado Couplet will be enhanced by a new industrial retail project, which showcases a new design aesthetic to this industrial/commercial and residential edge.

“Our commercial office building tenant improvement work remains strong; and it is exciting to have new and growing businesses in Central Oregon, and office building designs occupying our boards again.”
“The Monto Vido single-family residence in Tetherow will push the boundaries of high-efficiency with its contemporary design positioned to capture our exceptional Cascade views.

“Building communities and meeting demands, through collaboration and outreach, is presented in many of BLRB’s local projects, both large and small. We’ve enjoyed the privilege to support Crook County School District’s future with their new elementary school: Barnes Butte, as well as create guidance to a local brewery: Humm Kombucha, as they embrace continued success and growth.”

“We are glad the last two years are over in our office,” comments Bill Schertzinger of Schertzinger And Party Architect LLC. “By comparison, 2015 looks like a great year. We have three very nice projects in the design stage or under construction, with several proposed projects in the works.

“One of our top projects, Countryside Memory Care Facility is a 36 resident facility located adjacent to the Redmond St. Charles Hospital.”

Peter Baer, president of Pinnacle Architecture Inc, says they are gearing up for a busy 2015 and looking forward to the completion of the Central Oregon Community College (COCC) student housing project in partner with Mahlum Architects up in July. This facility will be a welcome addition to the campus offering the students an updated campus lifestyle.

“The Ochoco Hall remodel at COCC is also currently under way and scheduled to complete in May,” reports Baer. The renovation includes more offices and classrooms with updated finishes, mechanical and electrical systems.

“The construction trends we see coming up this year is the growing need for affordable housing in Central Oregon. We are working on multiple apartment complexes in response to the tight rental market.
“Other trends are in adaptive reuse of commercial and industrial spaces. Projects like the original 130,000 SF Fuqua industrial site adjacent to the north Bend Parkway that is being repurposed into multiple industrial suites. The leasing company is Fratzke Commercial Real Estate Advisors. This repurposing is similar to the previously completed BASX building in the old Redmond Walmart. These projects are great examples of sustainable architecture, giving new life to old structures and eliminating blight in our communities.

“We also see more growth in health care and have recently added architects Timothy Clem and Amanda Moore to the firm who specialize in hospital and health care design. We have a number of projects in the programming and planning stages. Specifically working with Lake District Hospital on a $7 million assisted living and elder care facility.

We continue to focus on “Community Enhancing Projects” and annually adopt a project providing architectural services free of charge. Projects to-date include Abilitree, Grandma’s House, Ronald McDonald House, Shepherds House, Bethlehem Inn and Teen Challenge. We are looking for a 2015 project. These are some of our favorite types of work. These organizations are a big part of our community and it’s extremely rewarding to help improve the lives of others in Central Oregon.”


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