Medford Water Commission Unveils Plans for New Northside Campus

The Medford Water Commission has announced its ambitious plans for the development of a 10-acre parcel of land located between the Rogue Valley Expressway and Medford Airport (MFR).

The development is divided into two key areas: the “front-of-house” and the “back-of-house” operations. The front-of-house section will include a single-story administration and operations building spanning approximately 35,500 square feet. It will be complemented by public parking and maneuvering areas, pedestrian plazas, a connection to the right-of-way, and a demonstration garden.

The back-of-house operations will encompass a single-story maintenance and fleet vehicle storage building covering 5,330 square feet, along with 7,665 square feet of covered parking for fleet vehicles. Other elements of the back-of-house section include a fueling station measuring 740 square feet and a substantial 6,000 square feet decant facility. To cater to employee and fleet needs, there will be designated parking, an uncovered material storage yard, and ample paved maneuvering spaces. Security is ensured by an 8-foot high perimeter fence with gated access for both vehicles and pedestrians.

The ZCS Engineering and Architecture designed development, also prioritizes public space and landscape design. Interpretive signs will guide customers and visitors, and a demonstration garden with a guided walking path will showcase water-conserving landscape practices, water-efficient irrigation, and planting. The landscape will be adorned with shade trees, artistic boulder groupings reflecting local geology, green stormwater facilities, permeable pavement, and site furniture like benches and bicycle racks. An outdoor classroom area and video displays for presentations will be available for educational groups, along with pedestrian shade structures and a perimeter walking path. A recirculating water feature is designed to adapt to drought conditions.

In addition to public amenities, employees will have their dedicated outdoor space, offering a private area for breaks, special events, and outdoor gatherings. This area will feature a patio, benches, movable tables and chairs, a barbecue grill, covered spaces for shade, and walking paths. There may even be a small water feature and a dry streambed with a pedestrian bridge. Secure, covered bicycle parking will be provided for employees.

The landscape design places a strong emphasis on sustainability, with drought-tolerant, fire-resistant, native, and adapted low-water-demand plant communities suitable for the local climate. The selection of plant species will promote biodiversity, resilience, and ecosystem health. Shade trees will be placed throughout the site, offering comfortable outdoor spaces for relaxation and learning.

Planners say the planting design aim to inspire visitors to adopt sustainable practices in their own homes by showcasing water-conserving gardens. Traditional lawns will be replaced with interactive demonstration gardens, serving as an educational resource for responsible land management. Stormwater detention facilities will be equipped with native and adapted plant species capable of withstanding both standing water and drought conditions.

The Medford Water Commission’s development project is set to be presented to City of Medford officials at the November 8, 2023 meeting.

Source: City of Medford / ZCS Engineering