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Transit/community center ready to debut
Eric Wohle of LDA Partners and a Ripon resident talks about the new transit center. - photo by HIME ROMERO

Downtown Manteca’s most architecturally stunning building is almost done.

The $6.9 million transit center is more than just bricks, concrete, steel, and glass. It was designed with the future in mind whether it is weekday commuter train service and charging electric vehicles or serving as the new standard for downtown renovation.

The 7,000-square-foot transit center at South Main and Moffat Boulevard is being dedicated and showcased during an open house on Tuesday, Aug. 6, at noon.

“I think it establishes a new improvement standard for downtown Manteca,” noted transit center architect Eric Wohle of LDA partners. “This is definitely more than just a box.”

While that may seem a bit like self-promotion, there are plenty of reasons why that statement rings true.

The Manteca City Council’s goal from the start was not just to have e a transit center but a community gathering place. And it wanted one that made a statement.

The end result is a Grand Central Station theme with an imposing lobby, a dominating clock tower, and arguably the most user friendly community meeting facility in Manteca.

The community room has capacity for 452 people seated without tables with that space being able to break down into two smaller rooms — one handling 318 and the other 134. There are built-in audio visual equipment and power-controlled shades that allow for effective darkening of the room. In addition there are big flat TV screens installed around the room.

The room has well-designed acoustics accomplished by metal ceiling sound panels designed to look like wood that have hundreds of tiny holes and baffling behind that.

No detail was too small to overlook  There are numerous floor outlets through making the space ideal for trade shows and such to separate sink and counter areas for dividing the room into two.

The space floors into an outdoor plaza that was designed with landscaping and trellises that ultimately will provide large shade canopies thanks to the selection of Morning Glory Maples that also have eclectic outlets at the base for plugging in decorative lights. Again, there are numerous outlets elsewhere on the plaza available to support the use of the space.

There is a fully-equipped commercial kitchen allowing food service for everything from meetings, weddings, and parties to fundraisers.

Wohle noted making the community room available for such purposes was part of the city’s strategy to generate funds to help cover ongoing maintenance and operation costs. The building’s design is based on low operating and maintenance costs while at the same time creating a pleasing setting.

Wainscoting, for example, adds to the look and protects sheet rock as well while reducing maintenance costs. The metal roof is designed for minimum upkeep needs.

The low maintenance approach is carried non in the landscaping. Grass selected for the parking lot area and along Moffat doesn’t need mowing.

When the Altamont Corridor Express Service is extended into Modesto, a passenger platform will be added on the south side of the Tidewater Bikeway. Service is anticipated by 2018 at the earliest.

There are more than 100 parking spaces including about 50 covered by solar panels. Not only do they provide shade but they are expected to meet nearly three quarters of the facilities power needs.

Wohle noted the shade area would be ideal for vendors should the farmers market opt to relocate to the site.

There are four bus loading areas including two for larger buses such as Regional Transit and Greyhound (should the service be added) to shorter pull-ins for the buses that serve municipal routes. Each bus bay has an area with three benches plus electrical outlets that can be flipped on from inside the building.

There are also stations that can charge up to four electric vehicles plus four bike lockers. Electronic message board displays are located along the bus stops.

The station as designed down to such details as the clock being able to be seen by everyone waiting for a bus to an alignment of the main  interior hallway so the building could be monitored buy just one person working the ticket window.

Whole is an East Union High graduate as is the associate in his office – Dory Tucker — that handled the interior design. Dory Tucker

Wohle and LDA Partners also designed the fire station being built on Lathrop Road, the animal shelter, the municipal vehicle maintenance facility, and the renovation of the HOPE Family Shelter.