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Police training facility will be unique in Canada

The design of the Alberta Public Security and Law Enforcement Training Centre began with a simple phrase.
The Latin phrase “A Terra Nos Surgere” or “From land we rise” was chosen to describe the vision for the first training facility of its kind in Canada.
“It’s a metaphor for the land forms and berms on the site as well as a symbol of the training the students will experience,” explained Enzo Vicenzino, senior principal at Stantec Architecture Ltd. and designer of record for the training centre. “We’re hoping that phrase is going to be something that will stick with this facility.”
“I wanted to make certain there was a message behind our design and that it came through,” Vicenzino said.
The provincial government last month chose the design-build proposal from Bird Design-Build Construction Inc. and Stantec for the training centre in Fort Macleod.
An estimated 1,350 police and peace officer recruits will be trained each year in Fort Macleod beginning in September 2014.
“We’re thrilled to be part of this project,” Vicenzino said. “This project will put not only Fort Macleod and the region but Alberta on the map as a destination for law enforcement agencies.”
Creating the winning design required more than just deciding where the bricks and mortar would be placed.
“We really took a deep interest in the region,” Vicenzino said. ‘We designed the facility based on the history of the region.”
The design team considered aspects such as the arrival of the North West Mounted Police here in 1874, the railway grid and even irrigation canals.
“We looked at all kinds of events related to starting to impose order on the natural landscape,” Vicenzino said.
The training centre will cover about 340 acres just off Highway 2 south, which was donated to the project by the Town of Fort Macleod.
“We had some real challenges,” Vicenzino said. “One was just the sheer size of the site.”
Another challenge was ensuring the training centre contained all the required components, and was built within the government’s approved budget.
Construction of the training centre is expected to cost about $95-million. The total project budget is $122-million.
“It became a big challenge,” Vicenzino said. “This is when we had to become very strategic and innovative.”
The design team also set out to create a facility that fit with the region, which made the use of materials an important factor.
Environmental conditions also played a role in the design. Vicenzino recalled his first visit to the site.
“Was it ever windy,” Vicenzino said with a laugh. “That was a huge challenge for us.”
An example of how the design team took the strong winds that buffet Fort Macleod into consideration can be seen in the location of the five-storey residence building. It is placed in such a way to protect the other buildings behind it from the wind.
Vicenzino said it was important the training centre be designed so that it is attractive to the public.
There is a deliberate effort being made by police agencies to make their facilities open, approachable and welcoming.
No longer are police facilities being designed to resemble fortresses.
That philosophy is reflected in the main entrance to the training centre with its tall glass windows and brightly lit interior.
“That’s where a lot of our effort went, trying to design a facility not only to be used to train people in law enforcement, but also bring pride to the community,” Vicenzino said.
Stantec set out to design a facility that would be the envy of people in Canada and outside.
“At the end of the day this is such a unique facility in Canada,” Vicenzino said. “There is not another facility like it anywhere in this country.”
Stantec wanted the training centre to make a statement to visitors, knowing recruits and veteran police officials from around Canada and the U.S. will be training here.
“This facility is going to be a destination point,” Vicenzino said.
The designers also took into consideration that the training facility will be home for the recruits for an extended period of time.
“We wanted to design something that was going to be a very good place to be,” Vicenzino said.
The Stantec team designed with three levels of access in mind, or security zones.
There are areas at the training centre, such as the front entrance and multi purpose room just off the lobby that will be open to the public.
Some areas of the training centre will offer only limited access, and the third and final zone is open only to security personnel.
“We laid out the entire centre based on those zones,” Vicenzino said.
The training centre will have a residence building, simulation labs, classrooms, a mock courtroom, mock processing unit, 25-metre and 50-metre indoor shooting ranges and a 300-metre outdoor shooting range, an indoor urban streetscape, an urban village and rural farm scenarios, high and low speed test pads and a forest scenario.
“They are all located based on the level of access required by various groups,” Vicenzino said.
Construction of the Alberta Public Security and Law Enforcement Training Centre is to begin this summer.
“We are currently finalizing the last details with the province,” said Ian Reid, Calgary district manager with Bird Design-Build Construction Ltd.
“From land we rise” is a moment highly anticipated by Fort Macleod residents

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Index of Police College Stories - Listed by release date in Gazette

Apr 24 - Fort Macleod town council is planning for the future

Jan 10 - Province gives Fort Macleod $10.26-million for police college costs

Sep 11 - Wildrose Party will fight for Fort Macleod

Sep 04 - Fort Macleod residents devastated by decision to scrap police college

Sep 04 - Fort Macleod asks premier to reverse college decision

Sep 03 - Fort Macleod calls on premier to reverse police college decision

Aug 29 - Residents of Fort Macleod punished for voting Wildrose

Aug 29 - Wildrose says Fort Macleod victim of Tory fiscal incompetence

Aug 29 - Government cancels funding for police training college

Aug 28 - Council awards police college permit

Aug 01 - Police training facility will be unique in Canada

Nov 01 - Province approves grant for police college infrastructure

Oct 19 - Target schedule is set to build police college

Sep 27 - Stakeholders convene to discuss police college

Aug 24 - Police college sod-turning

Aug 16 - Police college sod-turning Mon. Aug. 22

Jul 26 - Fort Macleod puts more cash toward college

May 17 - Province moving ahead with police college plans

May 03 - Council okays transfer of police college land

Apr 05 - Police college site work could start in summer

Dec 01 - Macleod finds way to build police college

Dec 01 - Macleod pitches co-op to build police college

Nov 30 - Macleod feels positive about police college

Aug 25 - Police college partner possible

Aug 18 - Council works on own plan for police college

Jul 07 - Calgary project no threat to police college

Jun 09 - Mayor pushes solicitor general for collect action

Mar 31 - Macleod’s neighbours support police college

Mar 31 - Mayor says government just has to make college a priority

Dec 30 - MD council writes to support police college

Dec 02 - Southern Alberta backs police college

Nov 25 - Regional group lobbies for police college

Sep 23 - Police college has not been shelved — yet

Jul 29 - Mayor: ‘Police college project not cancelled’

May 06 - Infrastructure minister says college a priority

Apr 22 - Facebook page supports police college

Apr 01 - Council lobbies for progress on police college

Feb 18 - Solicitor General urges police college patience

Nov 04 - Police college discussed during Question Period

Nov 04 - Macleod mayor confident police college is coming

Oct 21 - Fort Macleod ‘anxious’ for police college start

Apr 16 - Province gets nine police college proposals

Mar 12 - Macleod can do business with police college

Sep 05 - Province reviews police college P3 proposals

Jun 26 - Police college Web site created

Jun 06 - Police college project is on track

May 30 - Police college officials visit Fort Macleod

May 23 - Police college headlines open house

Mar 28 - Solicitor General: ‘Police college is coming to Macleod’

Jan 31 - Mayor strikes police college committee

Nov 22 - Steering committee meets to discuss police college

Sep 13 - Opportunity knocking for Fort Macleod

Sep 13 - Macleod prepares to guide growth

Sep 13 - Police college is Fort Macleod’s destiny

Sep 13 - Mayor weathers police college criticism

Sep 13 - Fort Macleod celebrates successful college bid

Sep 06 - Fort Macleod lands Alberta police college

Sep 06 - P3 partners sought for police college

Sep 06 - Police training centre will be world-class

Dec 21 - Council designates land for police college

Dec 21 - Macleod’s police college bid in province’s hands

Nov 23 - Task force builds police college bid

Nov 02 - Council still pursuing college