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Critical Workforce Shelter and Facility

Project Location:


Highway 21

City of Savannah

Water Treatment Plant Property

Savannah, GA




The City of Savannah


Type of Services:


New Construction, Architecture, Interior Design, Engineering


Date Completed:





Lominack Kolman Smith Architects provided design services for the approximately 32,000 square foot Critical Work Force Shelter and Multi-Use Facility for the City of Savannah. This building serves as a shelter and operational facility for Critical Work Force employees during emergency events. Additionally, it serves as a multi-use facility for meetings and training purposes during non-emergency events, and as a FEMA approved safe room and relief shelter when needed by nearby communities.


The focus of this project was to provide the most flexibility within the rigid structural and architectural guidelines of FEMA 361: Design and Construction Guidance for Community Shelters. The design team worked closely with City of Savannah representatives in developing a disaster shelter and operational facility without precedent. The resulting design has become a one-of-a-kind shelter that provides essential sleeping, dining, and bathing facilities for up to 500 people. The building also houses Quartermaster and Decontamination facilities that will be used by the City of Savannah’s Water and Sewer Division during a catastrophic event. The design provides permanent office space for the administrative offices of the Critical Work Force. Emergency office areas have also been allocated for the City of Savannah’s administrative offices to keep essential City operations in tact during an emergency event such as a hurricane.


A significant consideration throughout the design process of the Critical Work Force Shelter was to allow for flexibility of space, as the primary use of the building may happen once in a hundred years, or never at all. With this in mind, the sleeping rooms, which make up nearly one-third of the building’s area, were designed to open up into large training areas and meeting facilities. Also, the mechanical and electrical operations of the building were designed so that portions of the building reserved only for a disaster situation could be turned off or minimally used during normal conditions.

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