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Durham police get new state-of-the-art home

Lindsey Cole
Durham police get new state-of-the-art home
With a total project cost of more than $40 million, the first phase of the Durham Regional Police complex in Clarington, Ont. includes a 41,950 square foot Clarington East Division building and a 21,680 square foot Forensic Investigation Facility. Graham Construction was awarded the contract to build phase one. -

A new Durham Regional Police complex in Clarington, Ont. has become reality after more than a decade of plans and discussion to make the vision come to life.

Found on the south side of Highway 2, just west of Bowmanville, and bounded by Maple Grove Road, the first phase of the complex is substantially complete and features a 41,950 square foot Clarington East Division building and a 21,680 square foot Forensic Investigation Facility (FIF), says Mark McLester, a project manager with the Regional Municipality of Durham.

Graham Construction was awarded the contract to build phase one, which was tendered at just over $26 million, with a total project value of more than $40 million. Construction started in summer 2013 with Toronto-based firm Dialog taking the project through the master planning phase to completion, explains David Nagy, a manager in the Facilities Management Division at the Region of Durham.

"We worked very closely with Graham and the architects Dialog. We were able to work closely to deliver a successful project," he says. "It’s a complex building. This one we can definitely chalk up as a success. We’re very proud of the end product."

The police station replaces the old east division headquarters, which opened in 1986 in Bowmanville. The new building, which features architectural stone and brick, will house frontline officers who patrol the communities in Clarington and the eastern portion of Oshawa. Approximately 100 police officers will work out of the building, with the potential for expansion.

"It consolidates many facets of the policing operation, which creates some efficiencies. They have a larger building for expansion into the future," Nagy explains. "They’re able to look at the boundaries of policing and optimize the way they serve the community."

The new FIF will handle evidence in a manner that is "essential in today’s modern courtroom." It will include state-of-the-art labs required for the preparation of evidence for court purposes. The existing facility in the Central East Division in downtown Oshawa isn’t big enough to handle the growing region.

Durham police will be moving in to both buildings in early 2016.

When it came to construction, during the initial stages some careful planning was undertaken to deal with the site and a creek that happened to flow through it.

"The main issue we were dealing with was basically servicing the site and getting it suitable to develop," Nagy explains. "Part of that involved importing a significant amount of fill material. We’ve raised the grade to almost four metres in certain sections of the facility, which also involved significant creek modifications in order to deal with flood plain requirements. That was probably the most major challenge with the design. Basically, what had happened, there was a creek that ran through the interior of the site."

Essentially, the creek had to be rerouted and a 60-metre wide channel was created.

"It had to be designed to deal with all the environmental considerations. We were also dealing with regulated timeframes when we could work within the conservation-regulated land," Nagy adds. "So they (crews) had tight windows to go in and do the creek modifications, which included a bypass of the old creek in order for them to construct the new channels."

Winter weather also posed a challenge during the project, in particular the harsh winter of 2013/2014.

"It was very cold. A lot of the early activities, such as the importing of large quantities of fill, happened during that time. That was critical to move a great amount of material quickly, in order to allow us to proceed with the foundation construction," he states. "The project was substantially performed as of Nov. 30 this year (2015) and work will be continuing into the New Year."

Designed and constructed to meet LEED Silver for energy and water efficiency, Nagy says there were a number of initiatives put in place to keep operational costs down, including solar panels for hot water heating and heat recovery.

McLester adds efficiency was also kept in mind during the initial construction.

"During construction, there was a huge emphasis on recycling material," he says.

During peak construction there were more than 80 workers on site, he adds.

A total of 16 sites were examined for the police complex with the 27-acre parcel of land in Clarington coming out on top. Two more buildings, a Regional Support Centre and a Centre for Investigative Excellence, will also eventually be part of this development as phase two of the project. Still in the early planning stages, occupancy isn’t expected until 2023.

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