GTA Construction Report special feature
Despite challenges that delayed the opening of the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway Marine Security Operations Centre (GL-MSOC) by several months, the $10.5 million project remains on budget and is moving towards its August completion.
The GL-MSOC in Niagara-on-the-Lake will serve several government organizations including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), Department of National Defence (DND), Department of Fisheries and Oceans/Canadian Coast Guard (DFC/CCG), Transport Canada, in addition to the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) and the Niagara Regional Police Service. The combined agency presence is intended to provide a comprehensive look at maritime activity related to marine security threat identification and response support.
The new 20,000 sq. ft. two-storey facility will replace a current temporary centre for 44 staff housed inside an RCMP worksite since 2005. The staff is expected to more than double at the new building.
Asif Khan, assistant project manager with BECC Construction Group Ltd., says construction started in August 2012 and had originally been scheduled for an April 2014 opening. Design changes, site conditions and a harsh winter season contributed to overall delays.
“This has been a complex project from the start,” he said. “Many of the details and user requirements were laid out in general intent but not fully explained in the specifications due to the highly secure nature of the work that will go on here. Thankfully we had open lines of communication to the design team and owner representative for clarification as it was needed but there was still a learning curve to adapt to.”
BECC is experienced in this kind of high-security project. In 2006 the company built an addition and converted an existing attached building into a new 30,000 sq. ft. Niagara region RCMP detachment. Khan says the project requirements included an in-depth security clearance for every contractor and staff member working on the site.
The GL–MSOC has been designed to achieve LEED Gold certification and includes a green roof, living wall and ground source heat, among its many unique design elements.
“This is primarily an administrative space with offices, meeting rooms and staff service areas like lunch rooms and an exercise room,” says Khan. “The design is able to use abundant natural light which is another of its LEED advantages.”
An open concept lobby features the floor-to-roof living wall and an open skylight which will flood the space with natural light. Khan says a feature wall with modular art gypsum board and beautiful millwork panels will be a focal point.
The project, which required between 250 and 300 workers over its duration, is wrapping up with exterior cladding and final landscaping.