Elgin Community College Builds Public Safety Training Center

 DLA architects design Public Safety Training Center Elgin, IL


Construction of the new Public Safety Training Center at Elgin Community College is nearing completion. The College broke ground on the new satellite campus in Burlington Illinois in the fall of 2014. The highly specialized facility will provide both classes and hands-on training for law enforcement officers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians.


The 75-acre site features an 18,000 square foot academic building, an apparatus building, a three-story burn tower (and other props for live fire training), a driving skills pad, and a forced entry building. The site also incorporates a dive pond for search and rescue exercises, and a draft pond to serve as a water source for the firefighting exercises.


In a successful collaboration with DLA Architects, Conservation Design Forum provided site engineering and landscape architecture to accommodate the desired layout of the buildings, parking lots, ponds, and open/green spaces.


Located in rural Kane County, CDF engineered the site to fit the topography and virtually eliminate floodplain impacts. The undisturbed floodplain areas of the site will be seeded with a custom blend of native prairie grass species adaptable to the unique and various hydrological site conditions. Conjointly, the hardscapes and landscapes were designed to function together as a system to manage and reuse stormwater, minimizing offsite runoff. A significant portion of the site runoff is collected in a draft pond that is used as a water source for firefighting exercises. The volume of the pond was designed to match the inflow of intermittent runoff with the daily demand from the firefighting exercises. The remaining runoff is managed with naturalized drainage swales and a naturalized pond that is also used for dive rescue training.


Draft and Dive ponds engineered by Conservation Design Forum  

The landscape design provides a context-specific setting evocative of a prairie environment to help integrate the buildings into the surrounding landscape. Three custom seed mixes are being used throughout the site, each suited to a particular site condition. The Naturalized Landscape mix, a specialized blend of several native prairie grass species, was selected based on highly variable site conditions, ecological value and wildlife potential. The Naturalized Shoreline blend was selected to accommodate the fluctuation of water levels in the dive pond, and the Naturalized Swale and Rain Garden blend was selected to aid in the cleansing and cooling of stormwater runoff; filtering out urban pollutants and protecting water quality. Finally, areas immediately surrounding the buildings were designed with naturalized ornamental plantings and turfgrass that allow for programmed use of open lawn space.


CDF Project Manager Jonathan Lawrence indicates that all planting should be completed by fall 2015 and the entire project is expected to be completed by spring 2016. Watch the time-lapse video of the construction:


Tags: stormwater management, ecological design, campus design, DLA Architects, Elgin Community College

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