Student and faculty safety on the academic campus is being re imagined across the nation. With the latest news stories and events that have unfolded over the past few years, now more than ever, parents demand learning environments that have quick response security measures in place. Students want the security, but not necessarily the continual vigilance that comes with it. While colleges and universities take student safety extremely seriously, they need to project their commitment out towards the community and to potential future students. Georgia Institute of Technology has all of these concerns, plus the added complexity of an urban campus within midtown Atlanta, open borders for practically anyone to traverse the campus.
Recently, Pond was selected by Georgia Tech to help address this growing concerns with an exciting new project that will consolidate the hub of all campus security functions into a singular location. Since 1981, the Georgia Tech Police Department (GTPD) has based in five locations with their main operations in the Gary F. Beringause Building, and today, with a staff of over 80 sworn officers and over 120 total employees, the GTPD protects a growing campus community of over 33,000 students, faculty and staff. The department now includes a Criminal Investigations Division, a K9 program, an Office of Emergency Preparedness, and other specialized units to protect the campus community. Additionally, the department monitors over 1,700 campus security cameras in its communications center, where dispatchers and student video technicians keep a careful eye on the campus.
Constructing a new 30,000 square foot building will allow the GTPD to consolidate and create new technologically-advanced spaces and take advantage of modern-day workplace solutions to greatly enhance their impact without significantly increasing their space footprint. The project will also be a new gateway to the campus northwest sector. This facility will allow the campus to replace obsolete police facilities, consolidate the units into one location, and modernize the police functions.
The Pond architecture team worked hard to learn about the client’s critical points for this specific project. With this knowledge, we then assembled a team of local consultants who also actively work with Georgia Tech to present a strong team that effectively addressed the programming of the public safety component, sustainability, and community presence.
Pond has a strong public safety portfolio between our municipal and defense work. This expertise provided a unique knowledge base that influenced the overall building design, site layout, and internal flow of information, people and equipment throughout this new safety complex. We successfully merged this specific industry expertise with our understanding of higher education and campus design to present a unique solution to Georgia Tech.
To address the client’s desire for expanded sustainability within all of their facilities that fall within or near their new Eco-Commons projects, we brought on a partner architecture firm who thoroughly examined the latest “Living Building Challenge” hosted by Georgia Tech. By effectively merging the key aspects of this heightened level of sustainability and applying them to the Public Safety Complex design, we were able to show our dedication towards the client’s mission to preserve the environment. Additionally, Pond’s landscape architecture team brought these sustainability concepts further with the integration of our building into the GT landscape master plan, a great feat considering the unique shape and size of the site.
The complete team worked in unison to design options that elevated this facility to a “gateway building” on the Georgia Tech campus which will always be accessible to the student body and the greater community. Having a “safe place” prominently on the border of the campus will provide an unspoken deterrent to unwanted external influences, and provide students with a strong sense of security. The new complex will also provide Georgia Tech a venue to showcase their unwavering commitment to campus safety.
The building is in the beginning design phases, and the construction cost of this project is estimated to be near $10M. The Georgia Tech Public Safety Complex project is a great example of taking the right amount of time to really learn what our client needs were, then assembling the right internal and external team and expertise to provide our client exactly what they need to fulfil their mission.