The new San Diego County Sheriff's Crime Lab, Major Crimes, and Property & Evidence Unit Building is the latest addition to the County Operations Center in Kearney Mesa. It replaces a facility that was located in a converted hospital.
The 158,000-sf addition collocates three crime-fighting functions: the regional crime lab, which performs forensic examinations for more than 30 county, state, and federal law enforcement agencies; the major crimes division, which investigates the most serious crimes committed in the county; and the property and evidence unit, which previously was spread across two buildings.
SmithGroup designed a high-performance envelope appropriate to San Diego’s mild climate; as a result the team was able to reduce the size of the HVAC system. Degenkolb Engineers and vibration consultant Colin Gordon Associates designed the structural steel framework to just over 11 psf, well under the expected steel tonnage for a lab building.
LEED Gold certification is anticipated.
To safeguard the property and evidence unit, which is located in the basement, from moisture damage, DPR Construction waterproofed the 25-foot-high basement walls to the highest level of quality control and installed a permanent dewatering system—all work that had to be done through a record rain season.
The project team engaged in intensive planning and programming using parametric analysis to create a fully informed program. The resulting plan located the forensic activities on the west side of the building and the administrative space on the east. The laboratory itself is highly modular to allow for future adaptation.+
Building Team — Submitting firm SmithGroup (architect, MEP engineer), Owner County of San Diego, Department of General Services, Project manager PMA, SE Degenkolb Engineers, GC DPR Construction, CM Lowe Enterprises
General information — Size 158,000 sf, Construction cost $60 million, Construction time July 2016 to June 2018, Delivery method Design-build