Wood from trees that previously stood on the site where Johnston's new City Hall was built were used in panels on the front of the council dais and in the speaker's lectern. Photos by Kathy A. Bolten


More than 20 large walnut, oak and ash trees were removed from the 18-acre Johnston Town Center site as it was being prepared for development over a year ago.

Instead of sending the trees to a landfill, much of the wood was reclaimed and can now be found in several areas of the new Johnston City Hall, which recently opened in the development that is located on the northwest corner of Merle Hay Road and Northwest 62nd Avenue.

"From a sustainability perspective, we wanted to preserve as many trees on the site as possible," said David Wilwerding, Johnston’s community development director. "We couldn’t preserve all of them, so we wanted to find the right kind of reuse for the wood."

Wood from the trees was used in the panels around glass windows in the reception area and in paneled walls in conference rooms. It was used in the long, narrow decorative fins on a wall in the city building’s entrance hall (pictured at right).The wood was also used to panel the front of the council dais, speaker’s lectern and staff work stations. And portions of tree trunks were turned into tables found in the lobby and sitting areas throughout City Hall.

Other sustainability features include high-efficiency building mechanical systems; use of shading devices to reduce cooling loads; charging stages for electrical vehicles and electric assist bicycles; high-efficiency LED lighting and water fixtures; and the use of solar power from an array located on the roof.

"We’re hopeful we’ll be able to capture 80 to 100% of our electric usage for the building through the use of the panels," Wilwerding said.

City Hall is just one piece of the Johnston Town Center, a $100 million development that will also include up to 40,000 square feet of new office space, restaurants, retail and a hotel. Construction of two new mixed-use buildings is expected to begin this fall.

The development also includes a splash pad that will be converted to an ice rink in the winter. The splash pad, which opens on Friday, includes three spray flash features on each side of the pad and water jets in the center.

In the winter, the spray features will be removed and synthetic ice will be laid on top of the pad.

Wilderding said the city explored whether to use natural ice or synthetic and opted for the later.

"It operates at about 90% of the speed of normal ice and when you’re on it, it feels like ice," he said. Maintaining synthetic ice is less expensive than natural ice, he said.

A grassy area is between the splash pad and City Hall, whose west side includes a stage for concerts, outdoor movies and other community events.

A concession stand with restrooms is also on the site.

Murals by artist Jimmy Navarro are planned on the north and west sides of the building.
Aluminum artwork by Ames-based artist Reinaldo Correa is being installed near the entrance to the splash pad. Called Ripples, the fish-shaped sculpture is 12 feet tall and 21 feet long and weighs about 4,000 pounds. The piece, when completed, will include kinetic scales and will be lit at night.

More online
View a photo gallery of the new Johnston City Hall and splash pad.
Watch a video of Johnston’s David Wilwerding talking about the new splash pad.
Read related articleAmbitious town center project planned for Johnston