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Generations Center radiates cool
Groundbreaking for $5M project set for June 21
The Lathrop Generations Center is breaking ground June 21 at 1 p.m. - photo by Rendering contributed

LATHROP — What’s the “coolest” building in Lathrop?

By this time next year City Manager Steve Salvatore is confident it’ll be the 9,519-square-foot Lathrop Generations Center breaking ground on Friday, June 21, at 1 p.m. on Spartan Way near Lathrop High.

The $5 million complex is the end product of 70 community meetings that helped decide everything from function to the general design.

“I’d definitely call it cool,” Salvatore said.

Salvatore views it as a retro design. Building architect Eric Wohle of LDA Partners calls it “funky.”

Whatever the case, both agree that’s it is eye catching.

“This is the type of building that you want people driving by to take notice of so they will be curious as to what is going on inside,” Wohle said.

The classic angle design encompassing pre-cast concrete panels, glass and steel includes a distinctive turret that includes odd shaped windows that are randomly placed.

Its part of the teen portion of the center that the youth wanted the design of to make a statement.

It underscores what makes the building stand out. Besides providing a new home for the city library, the complex is aimed at bringing activities for the young crowd plus the older generation together under one roof.

In accommodating multi-generations in one building care was taken to reflect the architectural values of young and old as well as respect function.

After you step into the entry way that also does double duty as an art gallery, one side of the complex has traditional ceilings and rooms designed for quiet use as one would expect in a library. The teen center side, by contrast, has an industrial look to the ceiling with air ducts and such exposed while concrete and other materials for walls for durability on the expectation the room will get heavy use.

The design places support areas such as the mechanical room and restrooms in the middle to avoid duplication and cut expenses. It also is designed to require minimal staff.

The teen portion also has a large roll-up door with a large overhang designed to allow indoor and outdoor activities to flow together.  The outdoor portion of the project includes an amphitheatre, a state-of-the-art skate park and what is believed to be the first public parkour course in the nation.

Salvatore noted the skate park is designed to accommodate skateboarders, BMX bicycles, in-line skaters, and even wheelchairs.

A parkour course has been described as a “holistic training movement” derived from military obstacle course training.

Salvatore noted he project was delayed for almost two years due to efforts by the city that successfully secured a $5 million state grant instead of using local growth-related fees that can now be used for other municipal amenities.

Wohle added the documentation of the extensive 70 community input meetings plus the multiple uses impressed state personnel reviewing Lathrop’s funding request.

Wohle and LDA Partners have designed a number of public buildings in the South County including the animal shelter, city vehicle maintenance structure, and transit station in Manteca as well as the renovation of the HOPE Family Shelter.