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Firm Wins Gold for Design of Watertown Clinic


A behavioral health campus in Watertown, NY, owned and operated by Citizen Advocates and designed by Barton & Loguidice (B&L) into a safe haven for the delivery of lifesaving mental health and addiction treatment, has been selected as a Gold Award-winning project by the American Council of Engineering Companies of New York (ACEC NY) in the 2024 Engineering Excellence Awards Competition.

The 11,000 square-foot clinic, which officially opened on May 1, 2023, filled a critical need for immediate access to 24/7 mental health and addiction support in an underserved area of northern New York. The revitalization of the formerly vacant, blighted property is connected with the public and stands as an investment in the community’s well-being.

“This project serves as a testament to the power of transformation and community support, and we are grateful to have been a part of it,” said Barton & Loguidice’s Project Manager, Dean Mason, P.E.

“Citizen Advocates believes in breaking the mold when it comes to what a behavioral health clinic is expected to look like,” said James Button, President & CEO of Citizen Advocates. “We not only want our facilities to be warm, expansive, and state-of-the-art treatment centers, they must also include smart, forward-looking design features that prioritize environmentally sound and energy efficient practices.  Our partnership with Barton & Loguidice has been key to making our vision a reality, and it’s no surprise they are being celebrated by their peers for the exceptional work that produced our Watertown clinic.”

The building’s transformation is a prime example of innovative techniques. “Smart siding” and fiberglass window frames were chosen for durability and energy efficiency. The exterior design incorporated phenolic resin-treated lumber and cultured stone treatments. The interior design featured ligature-resistant hardware that ensured patient safety, eliminating any potential self-harm risks in accordance with standards set forth by the New York State Office of Mental Health and New York State Office of Addiction Supports and Services.

At the same time, plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems were updated to meet state and federal healthcare facility standards. Beyond functionality, the project also focused on creating a welcoming, home-like atmosphere. Bright, inviting waiting rooms, a dedicated children’s area, and private overnight spaces provided comfort and accessibility. Despite its complexity, the project was completed on time and under budget thanks to meticulous planning, phased construction, and adaptive problem-solving.

Citizen Advocates is a leading provider of intellectual and developmental disability, mental health, and addiction prevention, treatment, and recovery services in Franklin, St. Lawrence, Clinton, Essex, Jefferson, Lewis, and Hamilton counties.  In addition to providing a wide range of high-quality clinical services, Citizen Advocates offers support that promotes individual health through stable housing, job training, transportation, and more.

The Engineering Excellence Awards are presented annually to projects encompassing the public and private sectors in several categories. Over 50 ACEC NY member firms submit projects that are judged by a panel of industry experts on a rigorous set of criteria, which includes complexity, innovation, and value to society. The winning projects will be honored at the 57th Annual Engineering Excellence Awards Gala in New York City on April 13, 2024.