On Thursday morning, January 9, 2020, officials from the Borough of Collingswood, members from the county of Camden and the State of New Jersey gathered with the community to celebrate the groundbreaking of a newly designed Public Safety Building. Located at 434 Haddon Avenue, the building will offer improved operational efficiencies for both Police and Fire departments, create a sustainable and environmentally conscious solution and generate new opportunities to serve the community by warmly opening its doors directly through public use.
“I’m just so proud of the process that has gotten us to begin construction on this building…[It] is going to be a very effective tool for our public safety needs over the next 100 years…. Its going to help our environment [and] its going to be a very sustainable building…We have worked in features that we hope will allow parts of this building to be utilized by the community for different public safety activities.” said Jim Mailey, the Mayor of Collingswood Borough.
Led by USA Architects, Planners + Interior Designers, Ltd. the process “ ..let people weigh in on different designs, on different attributes of the building, and that engagement was a huge asset...” said Mayor Jim Mailey, “It made it easier, it helped people buy in…it also gave us some really great ideas … on how we could make this all better.”
Fully integrated into the context of the neighborhood, the facility will protect staff, emergency personnel and residents while offering a strategic traffic design that accommodates emergency vehicle patterns. In addition, the building program will integrate twenty-first century public safety design ideologies such as Community Integration, Advanced Technology, Support Space Innovation, and Sustainability.
“It was really refreshing when we … we met the community and officials. One of the goals was, ‘We want a sustainable building.’” stated, Carlos Tovar, Sr. Project Designer and Associate at USA Architects. “The vision of the community, after all the meetings that we had… the vision of the commissioner, the vision of everybody here was the main focus of the design…. this was a truly collaborative process….we understand the architecture of Collingswood…the history of Collingswood…[and] we introduced those details.”
As design specialist of public safety buildings, USA Architects created a thoughtful solution that offers 31,000 square feet of shared spaces between Fire and Police departments. Intentionally designed to create efficient use of shared spaces and nurture camaraderie between departments, the front area of the ground floor will be dedicated to the fire department. The rear portion will be dedicated to certain police operations by use of a sally port and holding cell. Additionally, the first floor will be an open and secure space able to receive the community 24 hours a day. The second floor, will be dedicated to fire and police department offices, include sleeping units and a classroom/assembly area which may be used by public groups such as boy scouts and girl scouts and for first responders to train CPR and First Aid to the public. An extended outdoor area on the second floor will allow for outdoor training, when necessary and the third floor will be dedicated to police administration. The ventilation system was specifically designed to solve challenges related to sleeping areas in proximity to fire truck fumes and decontamination areas. Plans to include a green roof will significantly minimize energy use throughout the day. The landscape design will include use of native plants which will assist with irrigation. The plants will be planted by members of the community.
“This facility is really going to be a major accomplishment for us to be able to live comfortably, safely and healthy in a new environment... This [building] will help us enhance our response capabilities and response times throughout the town and allow better coordination and camaraderie with our police officers.” Fire Chief, Keith Davis
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