Work is progressing smoothly on the $65 million Niagara Regional Police Headquarters (NRPS)/2 District Facility. The 215,000 sq. ft. project has been designed to improve infrastructure efficiencies with enhanced community service. The 8.25 acre Valley Way site will be open by year’s end.
The project has been designed by Rebanks/Pepper/Littlewood Architects Inc. in association with McClaren, Wilson & Lawrie Inc. and Carillion Canada is constructing the building. Managed by the Regional Municipality of Niagara, the design includes solar and electric-vehicle ready components, aiming to achieve LEED Silver standards.
The project will amalgamate six other NRPS facilities. Its three level buildings plus below-level basement will house several centralized units including property and evidence, forensic investigations, major investigative units, dispatch and 911, prisoner management and administration. There will be 415 vehicle parking spaces.
Niagara Regional Police inspector Richard Frayne says the project has been built on principles related to workflow and functional adjacencies, achieving efficiencies for police service members and the public.
The building itself is broken down into three zones, he says. The east block includes publicly accessible and administrative areas, the centre block houses operations, and the west wing provides support services. “Within each zone, specific attention was paid to maximizing the day-to-day workflow within individual units, and attaining critical adjacencies to other units whose work interfaces with them. Our design intent was to make the most efficient and effective workspaces we could, while capitalizing on the synergies that exist between units.”
Frayne says the project overall focuses on effective and efficient site utilization, the efficient and logical circulation of vehicles and people, and the most efficient use of land area. “It was a challenge to make the site efficient and secure for police operations, while maintaining an open and welcoming sense for the public. We think we hit the mark in all areas.”
Frayne says, by definition, police facilities are critical infrastructure; with technologies, assets and services essential to the health, safety, security or economic well-being of Canadians and effective government functioning. “Disruptions of critical infrastructure could result in catastrophic loss of life, adverse economic effects and significant harm to public confidence. Critical infrastructure is required to be designed to recognized post-disaster standards.”
The project has been built to best practices, guided by principles laid out by the International Association of Chiefs’ of Police, the National Fire Prevention Association, Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) principles and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) guidelines. “Our project team members on this project, the architects, the general contractor and the major subcontractors are all experienced and well versed in all of these standards and principles. As a team we worked together to design a strong, safe and secure facility that will last for decades.”
Frayne says community members and Niagara visitors will find a reception centre with police officers ready to provide assistance and information as soon as they walk through the door. There is a motor vehicle accident reporting centre, a records centre, community meeting room, and self-reporting/information kiosks.
Much has changed behind the scenes. “The amalgamation and co-location of several different police facilities into one is where the real change will be felt. Amalgamation will bring about tremendous efficiencies, new practices and policies that will see better ways of doing business.” Overall, 600 people will work there.
Frayne says the building has been designed to make it as multi-use/purpose as possible, allowing for future growth and changes.
“Once this facility opens its doors, we will remain open 24/7/365 for the next 50 years or so,” he said. “We wanted this facility to work. Our mission has always be to deliver a highly efficient, purpose built police facility, constructed in a fiscally responsible manner, that will serve our community well for decades to come. We believe we have met out mission. We are proud of, and grateful for our new facility.”
An average of 110 workers, employed by 29 local companies, worked on site.