How to Go from BIM Manager to Autodesk Superhero in 3 Days


Fitness Center Expansion


Continues to Move Forward


Approves New Professional Development and Charter School Facility


One of 230 Shovel-Ready School Construction Projects funded by the State Allocation Board (SAB) in May 2013

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Community Update

Next Economy : Implementation Phase

On March 7th, the Leadership Group of the Capital Region Prosperity Plan, known as Next Economy, celebrated the completion of its Strategic Plan. “We are looking forward to the Strategic Plan moving into implementation,” said Jim Williams, W+P’s Principal who is part of the group.

The initiative used basic research to uncover our region’s competitive strengths and mapped out a set of interlocking strategies based on that information that can accelerate job and wealth creation and boost new investment across the Capital Region. The plan recognizes our key competitive strengths in six sectors or “clusters” listed below. By growing and broadening these sectors, we can strengthen our economy through diversification and economies of scale.
  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Agriculture and Food
  • Clean Energy Technology
  • Education & Knowledge Creation
  • Information & Communications Technology
  • Life Sciences & Health Services.
The goals of the plan are to:
  1. Foster a strong innovation environment
  2. Increase the region’s world trade
  3. Diversify the economy through growth and support of core business clusters
  4. Grow and maintain a world-class talent base
  5. Improve the regional business climate for economic growth
In the end, the success of the plan lies in ensuring that Next Economy strategies and actions are deeply integrated into organizations’ work plans, with accountability and champions across all segments of the Capital Region. Working together, we can build a more resilient and diversified economy for the 21st Century.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Cultural Nuances : China Update

China's Take on Construction Framing:
Terry and I visited Shanghai just before the Lunar New Year in early February, eager to see the the status of one of  W+P's projects currently being constructed in China!
Even though traditional Chinese architecture features timber framework, it is difficult to find appropriate lumber locally  these days. As a result, all of the wood frames used for this project were imported from Canada.
Today, the Chinese use steel and concrete as primary framing materials, even for single-story structures. As seen in the pictures to the left, cast-in-place concrete is used to frame out windows, doors, and whole roof structures. Although this is no new practice to me, this construction method is being utilized on all of W+P’s ongoing work in the country, therefore Terry is getting used to seeing it!

Americans (and others) might question why the Chinese build everything out of concrete… and vice versa, the Chinese may also wonder why Americans still build homes using wood!

Such cultural nuances often lead to interesting discussions of the social, environmental, and economic impacts of the building industry...

Enough talk - time for dessert! Slushies are always our favorite after a long day on site!


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

A Sworn Suburbanite Regains her Faith in the Urban Core

Never Say Never...

Growing up in the ‘burbs, I spent much of my youth romanticizing the urban lifestyle. But less than two years of living and working in Downtown Los Angeles pretty much ruined it for me. Sure, there were pro’s… authentic restaurants and hip bars and clubs within walking distance… gritty experiences, like befriending the scary guy who lived under the freeway since he stood guard over my car at night… easy access to the Staples Center (‘nuff said!). My favorite was, from the eleventh floor of an apartment in the financial district, I could leave the curtains open and fall asleep to a gorgeous view of city lights outlining the skyline.
Still, the reality of everyday wore down on me. It started with little things… costly rent for miniscule apartment space, even costlier parking, and parking tickets on top of it! I moved to more reasonably priced Hollywood—along Sunset Blvd, blocks away from Hollywood and Highland—and had to go through a vomit-in-the-elevator-and-a-property-manager-who-didn’t-notice-it-for-days incident. There’s the well-known LA traffic and horrible drivers… rude drunks spilling out of bars at 2 AM… and one of my bigger pet peeves: not being able to do more than a couple days’ worth of groceries at a time, because I only have two hands and a jug of milk or juice was all I could carry with one. The last straw was having wheels stolen from a gated underground parking garage. (The next morning, the car was balancing on two jacks, not even concrete blocks or anything… I kid you not!)
Since then, I’ve lived back in the suburbs, first in San Diego and now here. But then, on February 21st, I attended the Urban Land Institute’s program at the Crocker Art Museum titled “Unlocking Sacramento's Urban Core:  Identifying, Connecting and Enhancing the Assets.” Feature presentations by the Honorable Doris Matsui and Tim Youmans, and a thought-provoking, moderated panel discussion (that included John Shirey, City Manager of Sacramento; Martin Tuttle, City Manager of West Sacramento; David Taylor of David S. Taylor Interests; and Stephen Jaycox of Fulcrum Property) highlighted efforts to truly move the City forward via planned civic amenities, infrastructure, and private development. My attention was thoroughly captured. Those two hours flew by and made living downtown sound really enticing—not just for empty-nesting baby boomers or hipster/yuppie types, but even for someone like me who has three boys (well, okay, a husband and two boys!) in tow.
Imagine public access to and walkable neighborhoods along the riverfront; bike paths connecting Land Park to Old Sac and beyond; more bridges to alleviate transportation issues; street cars and pedestrian bridges; centers for education and the arts; thoughtfully designed recreation spaces within the concrete jungle... Amidst all the great establishments in Midtown that I already long for, what more could I need? (A downtown arena, maybe? But that will have to be an entirely different blog post!)

Of particular note is how public figures and private developers are collaborating to plan for Sacramento as a region, not separate parcels of land with different stakeholders that just happen to be next to each other. Perhaps the economic downturn has had a profound, positive effect of impressing upon us a simple truth: it is through working together that we can make great things happen.
The ideas of Stephen Jaycox particularly resonated with me, when he spoke of how what we plan and achieve in the coming years will have a lasting impact on the City. Right now is the City’s chance to define its identity for the future, and our industry in particular can help tie in the City’s roots in agriculture and maximize its greatest assets, the Sacramento and American Rivers. It is visionary ideas like that which make me proud to be part of this industry!

Daydreams aside, in all honesty, I may never leave the ‘burbs again. But I’m excited to watch as Sacramento’s Urban Core grows and thrives. Who knows? Maybe one day, I’ll at least get to visit my sons living their hip urban lifestyles downtown.

Did you miss out on the event but want more information? Check out Tim Youmans' PowerPoint presentation here!

Update : Placer County Office of Education

PCOE Approves New Professional
Development and Charter School Facility:

The Placer County Office of Education Board voted unanimously on February 28 to begin construction of tenant improvements to 20,000 SF of existing office space at 655 Menlo Drive in Rocklin. The program, which includes a major area for staff training, an alternative education charter school program and an independent learning charter school program, will provide a much needed resource for staff and students in South Placer County.
Since the building was purchased in August 2012, Williams + Paddon has worked to transform the office building into a multi-use educational and training facility. The design includes a shared "hub" area for the alternative education program, state-of-the-art audio/visual equipment including smart projection devices and touch screen LCD monitors, and a data center maintained by generator backup. Special attention was paid to the interiors, which provides a 21st Century environment more indicative of hospitality design, with natural daylighting, colorful finishes and collaborative spaces. The facility is expected to be operational by July 2013.


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

W+P goes to CCSA Conference

20th Annual California Charter Schools Conference & Anniversary Celebration
Are you attending the CCSA conference on March 11 – 14, 2013, at the San Diego Convention Center? If so, stop by to visit our Poster Session on March 13 (Wednesday) at the Facilities, Operations, and School Safety Expo!

Our interactive, informal session "How to Succesfully Convert Commercial Office Space to Charter School Use" is scheduled from 9:45 to 10:45 AM, and again from 12:45 to 1:30 PM, details below.

Presenters : Brian Whitmore of Williams+Paddon Architects + Planners, Chris Lemmon of Cornish & Carey Commercial, and Jerry Simmons of Young, Minney & Coor, LLP.

Among the opportunities that separate Charter Schools from traditional public schools is the ability to adapt existing commercial buildings that are not field-act compliant. Today, a tremendous amount of commercial space is available for conversion to educational use given attractive offers.
This workshop presents important information from the architect, broker and legal team including the structural, life/safety and accessibility issues, lease/ ownership options, and legal requirements. The panel will explore multiple case studies and leave the audience with strategies for how to develop a foundation for success.

Employee News : Tracy Librea-Asunto

W+P's Tracy Librea-Asunto, Business Development Manager : Appointed Board Member & Treasurer, Society of Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) Sacramento Chapter

In January 2013, Tracy was appointed to the Board of the Society of Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) Sacramento Chapter as Treasurer. SMPS is a national non-profit organization created in 1973 that endeavors to advocate for, educate, and connect business development leaders in the building industry. The local Sacramento Chapter is comprised of over 120 members from the engineering, architecture, and construction industry across the Central Valley and Bay Area regions.

 "Engaging in SMPS activities is one of the best ways for a marketing professional in the A/E/C industry to invest in his/her career development. I’ve found both role models and good friends among the interesting, driven members of this organization,” Tracy said. “Stepping up to this leadership role will allow me to continue sharing what I’ve gained with others—help them carve out their own unique career paths and feel supported through the process.”

Tracy has been involved with SMPS since 2006. Prior to this appointment, she was the co-Chair of the Programs Committee from 2010 to 2012, playing a critical role in the planning and execution of SMPS’s monthly, industry-specific luncheons.


Employee News : Brian Whitmore

W+P's Brian Whitmore, Associate Principal : Appointed to the City of Rocklin Planning Commission
Brian has been appointed by the Rocklin City Council to be one of five Planning Commissioners for the City of Rocklin for a four-year term. The Planning Commission is responsible for approval of development projects in the City, including the review of new and modified use permits, general architectural design and vocabulary, consistency with the City’s General Plan, and consideration of the future of the City’s development standards.
“By offering my expertise in architecture and planning in service of the community, I hope to help ensure the region continues to grow in a positive and thoughtful manner, and that the City of Rocklin remains a vibrant and successful environment for business, recreation and family life alike,” he stressed.
Having resided in Rocklin for the past five years, Brian has been involved in the community as the Vice Chair of the Rocklin Educational Excellence Foundation (REEF) and as a graduate of the Rocklin Chamber’s 2011/2012 Leadership program.


Employee News : Naaz Alikhan

W+P's Naaz Alikhan, Principal : Appointed Vice Chair, Board of Directors, NextEd
Two years ago, Williams + Paddon joined LEED (Linking Education and Economic Development) and Naaz wondered out loud about the confusion between this non-profit organization and the USGBC’s more globally known LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program. “That is the last time I'll wonder out loud in front of Dave Butler (the non-profit organization’s CEO),” she recently said, “because I was immediately assigned to work on the rebrand effort for the organization!”

Last year, LEED went through the rebranding process with Chris Holben of Runyan Saltzman Einhorn at the helm. The result was NextEd—Education for the Next Economy. “As Vice Chair this year, I am excited to help NextEd roll out the rebrand,” Naaz enthused. “Our goal is to strengthen existing connections, establish new relationships, and generally get the word out!”

NextEd's mission is to advance initiatives that prepare students for the next economy by supporting programs and public policies that are proven to provide skills relevant in the workplace, such as STEM Education, academies and pathways, and career education. The link between economic vitality and an educated workforce is well documented—regions that align economic development with educational assets are winners, prepared for the economy of the future.

Williams + Paddon is involved in NextEd because the organization mirrors our firm’s principles. As architects and designers of Learning Environments, we have seen firsthand the transformative nature of programs such as career academies, where high school kids learn skills that give them a head start in careers they are passionate about.

Interested in learning more about NextEd? Feel free to call or email Naaz at 916.786.8178 or


Los Banos AOC Moves Forward

County of Merced: Los Banos Courthouse a Go!
Williams + Paddon is pleased to announce that the Court Facility Working Group to the Judicial Council of California has given formal authorization for the Los Banos Courthouse project to continue into the design phase.

The Los Banos Courthouse project, along with many others, was placed on hold last June. Since that time Williams + Paddon has been working with the Administrative Office of the Courts through a series of cost reduction exercises to bring the project in line with new budget parameters.  Williams + Paddon has provided ongoing project information, written letters and attended hearings to keep the Los Banos project on the forefront. ­
“The Los Banos Courthouse is a very important project to the community that it will serve, and to us, and we are delighted to see it move forward ”, commented Mark Posnick, Associate Principal and Los Banos Courthouse Project Manager.

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