flexiblefullpage -
billboard - default
interstitial1 - interstitial
Currently Reading

More than justice for all

Justice Facilities

More than justice for all

Public safety buildings are paying greater attention to occupant well-being.


By John Caulfield, Senior Editor | September 24, 2021
Goodyear Fire Station 186
The recently completed Goodyear (Ariz.) Fire Department Station #186, designed by Dick & Fritsche Design Group and built by CORE Construction, bears few resemblances to the firehouses of old. The 13,895-sf building’s exterior skin was constructed of EIFS and masonry veneer, with TPO single-ply membrane roofing and standing seam metal roofing. The structural frame primarily consists of integrally colored CMU, steel, and metal stud framing. Photo: Courtesy The CORE Construction

Police stations are not generally thought of as welcoming places. So it might surprise some people to learn that new or renovated stations are being designed to project a more approachable veneer. 

“Many clients have been treating their [station] projects as town centers, ensuring the exterior is community friendly and welcoming for the public,” says Tom Leonard, Senior Project Executive with Gilbane Building Company. Jay Smith, a Vice President with STO Building Group’s Ajax Building Company, notes that police departments are incorporating public areas “to be more inviting.” And Nichole Kotsur, CORE Construction’s National Vice President of Public Safety, says that police station design now leans toward floor plans “that are much more open, with less private spaces.”

There is a curative component to the design of buildings in the public safety/justice sector. David Whimpey, Construction Manager with STO’s Layton Construction, sees more attention paid to what he calls “therapeutic justice” and mental health via more natural light and color. “Creating normative environments for rehabilitation instead of penal and punitive environments has been a focus for the construction industry” in the justice and public safety arenas, observes Eric Stenman, President of Balfour Beatty U.S.

One of Balfour Beatty’s current projects is the construction of a $19 million, 50,000-sf Police Headquarters in Mooresville, N.C., that when it opens next year will replace the town’s existing facility. This two-story building, designed by Little Diversified Architectural Consulting, will house the Chief of Police and police department, and feature collaborative spaces, exercise rooms, training rooms, bulk evidence storage, prisoner and vehicle processing areas, canine storage area, an emergency operations center, and decompression areas for patrol staff.

Stenman says Balfour Beatty is receiving requests for a “good mix” of renovation and expansion of existing buildings, and for new construction of correctional and criminal justice facilities. This sector also presents “unique opportunities” to partner on multiple design-build and joint-venture projects. 

Layton - Maple Street Correctional Center_Redwood City_CA_02-12101_Interior_Security
A view of the interior security at the 260,000-sf Maple Street Correctional Center, which sits on 4.9 acres in Redwood City, Calif. Built by a joint venture of Layton Construction and Sundt Construction, and designed by HOK, this $165 million building includes a three-story housing unit that, in its latest construction phase, was expanded to 832 beds from 576. Photo: Courtesy of STO Building Group

At least half of the Public Safety/Justice projects being worked on by the AEC firms contacted for this article are new construction or additions. These include the HDA Architects-designed, 12,547-sf Fire Station No. 221 that CORE Construction is building in Mesa, Ariz., with four apparatus bays, eight dormitories, a kitchen and dining room, dayroom, job-task conditioning room, a crew office, and community room. New construction currently accounts for 71 percent of Manhattan Construction’s work in this sector, says John Reyhan, its President.

For courthouses, the architectural firm Page & Turnbull spots a trend toward template and modular design to bring “standardization and equity” to projects, as well as to offset rising labor and construction costs, says Peter Birkholz, AIA, LEED AP, an Architect and Principal with that firm. Smith of Ajax Building Company also sees modular design and delivery becoming more prevalent in this sector “as we move labor out of the field into a manufacturing setting.”

David Burton, Vice President with Layton Construction, adds that as correctional facilities re-evaluate their bed counts for future health care and mental health needs, “renovation will potentially be a big part of the market going forward.”

HEALTH AND SAFETY ARE PRIORITIES

One abiding concern in this sector, partly the result of the COVID-19 outbreak, has been the health and safety of buildings’ occupants. Moseley Architects’ jail clients are requesting enhanced medical areas and negative pressure holding cells, says Dan Mace, its Vice President. Utilization of remote video visitation is increasing as physical visit spaces within jailhouses shrank during the COVID-19 event. 

Gilbane’s Leonard sees technology being installed to accommodate remote hearings, and jury spaces designed larger for social distancing. He adds that more courtrooms are being moved to lower levels in their buildings to minimize the need for elevator access.

“We have observed an increased use of technology, including safety and security systems, temperature scanning, and check-in procedures,” says Tim Kippenhan, Vice President and COO of Miron Construction. Other changes, he adds, include fewer doors, auto- or motion-sensor operated openings, and considerations with larger spaces planned for potentially fewer occupants.

Layton Construction’s Whimpey also notes a “big push” in the advancement and use of technology for video conferencing and visitation, telehealth and virtual medicine. These changes create efficiencies in daily operations while decreasing the demand on correctional officers for resources and time required to transfer inmates. Technology is also critical for cataloging and managing property and evidence. One of CORE Construction’s recently completed projects, the Architekton-designed 22,400-sf Police Property and Evidence expansion in Avondale, Ariz., is modernizing space to store over 65,000 items of evidence.

Gilbane - Gwinette Justice and Admin Center
Gilbane provided construction management at-risk services for the expansion of the existing Gwinnett County (Ga.) Justice and Administration Center. The $82 million expansion, designed by Pieper O’Brien Herr Architects, included a 195,600-sf addition to courthouse functions, judges’ chambers, jury deliberation and assembly rooms, detainee holding areas, a central security screening lobby, mechanical plant, and shell space for future expansion. Photo courtesy Gilbane

Manhattan Construction was part of a joint venture with Byrne and 3i that managed the construction to modernize the three-building Dallas County Records Building complex. This $150 million Gensler-designed project, which was completed in the summer of 2020 and unified the buildings into one functional facility, was one of the first WELL-certified government projects in Texas via strategies that included specifying low-VOC paints and finishes, offering healthier food options, letting in more natural light, providing access to a new on-site fitness center, installing ergonomic workstations, and integrating art and a connection to nature into the complex.

Plant City, Fla., engaged Manhattan Construction to transform several municipal and government buildings into touch-free, socially distanced spaces. Inside the town’s City Hall and the Police Department buildings, Manhattan has installed “Genius Walls,” demountable glass-hybrid partitions that stretch from the floor to a few inches below the ceiling. The walls, explains Reyhan, Manhattan Construction’s President, provide a clear view but limited exposure risks to essential personnel and their daily operations. 

Manhattan replaced 465 existing touch-type plumbing fixtures with touchless motion-activated fixtures, and installed hands-free elbow door pulls, glass-wall separators, and pass-through transaction windows.

UNDER ONE ROOF

Unlike some building types, public safety and justice facilities have not jumped onto the multipurpose bandwagon. “Due to safety and funding related issues, we have not seen the court projects incorporate any non-justice related programs,” says Page & Turnbull’s Birkholz, echoing other AEC sources. 

What is happening, though, is municipalities combining public safety and justice functions into one building. “Shared-use facilities are becoming more popular,” says CORE Construction’s Kotsur, who notes that recent projects have housed a police and fire department, a police department with city hall, and a police and fire department with a public library or public works office.

Gilbane’s Leonard says more clients are locating correctional facilities adjacent to courthouses, with a tunnel or bridge connection that, he says, supports security and decreases transportation costs. In these environments, clients want more cameras, card readers, and special software that enhance security and safety.+

Related Stories

BAS and Security | Oct 19, 2022

The biggest cybersecurity threats in commercial real estate, and how to mitigate them

Coleman Wolf, Senior Security Systems Consultant with global engineering firm ESD, outlines the top-three cybersecurity threats to commercial and institutional building owners and property managers, and offers advice on how to deter and defend against hackers. 

Justice Facilities | Oct 17, 2022

San Antonio’s new courthouse aims to provide safety and security while also welcoming the public

The San Antonio Federal Courthouse, which opened earlier this year, replaces a courthouse that had been constructed as a pavilion for the 1968 World’s Fair.

Giants 400 | Aug 22, 2022

Top 90 Construction Management Firms for 2022

CBRE, Alfa Tech, Jacobs, and Hill International head the rankings of the nation's largest construction management (as agent) and program/project management firms for nonresidential and multifamily buildings work, as reported in Building Design+Construction's 2022 Giants 400 Report.

Giants 400 | Aug 22, 2022

Top 200 Contractors for 2022

Turner Construction, STO Building Group, Whiting-Turner, and DPR Construction top the ranking of the nation's largest general contractors, CM at risk firms, and design-builders for nonresidential buildings and multifamily buildings work, as reported in Building Design+Construction's 2022 Giants 400 Report.

Giants 400 | Aug 22, 2022

Top 45 Engineering Architecture Firms for 2022

Jacobs, AECOM, WSP, and Burns & McDonnell top the rankings of the nation's largest engineering architecture (EA) firms for nonresidential buildings and multifamily buildings work, as reported in Building Design+Construction's 2022 Giants 400 Report.

Giants 400 | Aug 22, 2022

Top 80 Engineering Firms for 2022

Kimley-Horn, Tetra Tech, Langan, and NV5 head the rankings of the nation's largest engineering firms for nonresidential buildings and multifamily buildings work, as reported in Building Design+Construction's 2022 Giants 400 Report.

Giants 400 | Aug 21, 2022

Top 110 Architecture/Engineering Firms for 2022

Stantec, HDR, HOK, and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill top the rankings of the nation's largest architecture engineering (AE) firms for nonresidential and multifamily buildings work, as reported in Building Design+Construction's 2022 Giants 400 Report.

Giants 400 | Aug 19, 2022

2022 Giants 400 Report: Tracking the nation's largest architecture, engineering, and construction firms

Now 46 years running, Building Design+Construction's 2022 Giants 400 Report rankings the largest architecture, engineering, and construction firms in the U.S. This year a record 519 AEC firms participated in BD+C's Giants 400 report. The final report includes more than 130 rankings across 25 building sectors and specialty categories. 

Government Buildings | Apr 11, 2022

Milan’s new US Consulate celebrates Italian design

In Milan, Italy, the new U.S. Consulate General broke ground on April 6. Managed by Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO), a U.S. government agency that directs overseas builds, the 10-acre campus will feature a new Consulate building, as well as the restoration of the site’s historic Liberty Building and reconstruction of a pavilion on the 80,000-square-foot parade ground.

Giants 400 | Dec 5, 2021

2021 Justice Facility Sector Giants: Top architecture, engineering, and construction firms in the U.S. justice facility/public safety sector

Turner Construction, DLR Group, AECOM, and Stantec top BD+C's rankings of the nation's largest architecture, engineering, and construction firms for justice facility/public safety buildings work, including correctional facilities, fire stations, jails, police stations, and prisons, as reported in the 2021 Giants 400 Report.

boombox1 - default
boombox2 -
native1 -

More In Category



Giants 400

Top 90 Construction Management Firms for 2022

CBRE, Alfa Tech, Jacobs, and Hill International head the rankings of the nation's largest construction management (as agent) and program/project management firms for nonresidential and multifamily buildings work, as reported in Building Design+Construction's 2022 Giants 400 Report.


Giants 400

Top 200 Contractors for 2022

Turner Construction, STO Building Group, Whiting-Turner, and DPR Construction top the ranking of the nation's largest general contractors, CM at risk firms, and design-builders for nonresidential buildings and multifamily buildings work, as reported in Building Design+Construction's 2022 Giants 400 Report.

halfpage1 -

Most Popular Content

  1. 2021 Giants 400 Report
  2. Top 150 Architecture Firms for 2019
  3. 13 projects that represent the future of affordable housing
  4. Sagrada Familia completion date pushed back due to coronavirus
  5. Top 160 Architecture Firms 2021

 



Magazine Subscription
Subscribe

Get our Newsletters

Each day, our editors assemble the latest breaking industry news, hottest trends, and most relevant research, delivered to your inbox.

Subscribe

Follow BD+C: