The Georgia Department of Human Services opened its newest office in Gwinnett County in August 2017. The 100,000 square-foot facility, which is situated in Lawrenceville, Ga., houses 400 employees and provides child and family-oriented programs—among other services—to over 120,000 families in the county. Because it is a government agency, DHS officials were required to publicly bid the project. Winning the project after answering a Request for Qualifications and a successful interview process was CGLS Architects, a full-service, mid-sized architectural firm located in Atlanta.

The design firm was entering new territory when it won the bid to design the new government building, having traditionally specialized in academic, religious, and hospitality projects. Frankie Ware, an interior designer at CGLS for the past 15 years, said her design firm was tasked with carefully designing a government facility that handles a variety of emotionally-charged and highly-sensitive situations related to family and child custody issues. The government agency also experiences a high employee turnover rate, so the new facility would need to be designed in such a way that was inviting and gave off a home-like feel.

Flooring played a crucial role in the design of the new DHS facility. Initially, DHS officials wanted to use VCT flooring, but Ware convinced them that it was not ideal for the amount of foot traffic the facility would receive. Having used luxury vinyl flooring in the design of several church facilities in the past, Ware presented DHS officials with Parterre Flooring’s product due to its design versatility, sound-absorption qualities, and the fact that it requires less maintenance than other flooring options.

“It was really a win-win situation as far as the maintenance required, the life cycle and the look and feel of it,” she said. In terms of design, the wood look was highly sought after for this project, however, the cost of natural wood flooring was prohibitive. In an effort to achieve the desired wood-look, the team turned to Parterre’s Exotic Walnut, a gray wood-look option, and Traditional Walnut, a brown wood-look flooring option, both luxury vinyl designs from the InGrained Resilient Plank collection.

For more information, visit