A Sense of Security:
First-of-its-kind education center trains first responders
Standing as a response to growing
public concerns about national security and regional employment,
the new 66,000-square-foot Homeland Security Education Center at
the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Ill., is the first facility of
its kind in the Midwest. Designed by Legat Architects, Chicago, and
Brubaker Design, Chicago, the facility prepares
multi-jurisdictional emergency personnel to respond to
international and domestic terrorist acts as well as man-made and
"The HEC stands as an epicenter for homeland security
education," says Aleisha Jaeger, senior project manager at COD. "It
elevates the skills of first responders, and offers our community a
symbol of strength and dedication to regional and national
The center houses the college's Criminal Justice and Fire
Science/EMS programs, in addition to the Suburban Law Enforcement
Academy and the COD police department. The facility's hub is a
5,400-square-foot first non-military 4-D Immersive Interior
Training Lab, which functions as both a gathering area and a zone
to simulate urban response force-on-force situations and firearms
"With its brick and stucco walls, canopies, and street lights,
the Interior Training Lab feels like Main Street, but behind the
'storefronts' are classrooms and labs," says Jay Johnson, HEC
project manager, Legat Architects.
Additionally, the HEC features forensics and cybercrimes labs,
full-scale ambulatory training, a fully functional mock courtroom,
smoke room with moveable walls for firefighter scenarios, and
debriefing room with floor-to-ceiling viewing screens. The center
also provides first responder training in the areas of terrorism
methodology, forensics, cyberterrorism, urban response, National
Incident Management Systems, emergency medical response and
"This is as real as it gets," says Bill Lawler, director of the
Suburban Law Enforcement Academy. "The HEC not only provides the
highest level of hands-on training for the next generation of first
responders, but our partnerships with local municipalities allow
seasoned law enforcement and emergency personnel to build their
A New Gateway
Located at the intersection of two busy roads, the HEC creates a
new gateway on the west side of campus. The center is made up of
two volumes: a rectangular glass and steel-gridded event space, and
an auditorium whose metal-clad walls undulate.
A solution to the goal of designing a facility solid enough to
support its primary function, yet unique enough to pique curiosity,
came in the form of a predictable block accentuated by a series of
unpredictable "episodes," including façade recesses and
protrusions, height variations, and color and material differences.
These differences create a dialogue of contrasts: private and
transparent, level and angled, introverted and extroverted.
To push the HEC in a new direction, while still relating to the
industrial quality of the other campus buildings, metal panels in
three different colors were selected. The panels' random
arrangement and blue-green colors merge technology and
nature. Mitsubishi Plastics Composites America Inc.,
Chesapeake, Va., supplied 24,000 square feet of ALPOLIC aluminum
composite wall panels coated in three custom blue-green metallic
colors by Minneapolis-based Valspar. ACM fabricator, Metal Design
Systems Inc., Cedar Rapids, Iowa, supplied its Series 30 concealed
aluminum framing system with the ALPOLIC panels.
"We spent a lot of time tweaking the three custom panel colors,"
Johnson says. "On clear days, the center merges the sky's blue with
the green of the landscape."
Additionally, Petersen Aluminum Corp., Elk Grove Village, Ill.,
supplied its PAC-750 soffit panel system in Zinc Metallic, and
Santa Monica, Calif.-based Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope supplied its
Vistawall curtainwall system with low-E glazing from Guardian
Industries Corp., Auburn Hills, Mich.
The project also includes a THERMAX Wall System by Dow Building
Solutions, Midland, Mich., which features 1 1/3-inch aluminum-faced
polyisocyanurate attached to 16-gauge cold-formed steel studs with
2 1/2 inches of Dow Thermax spray foam insulation. The Dow Thermax
wall systems provides simplified design, streamlined construction
and optimized energy efficiency for a reduced carbon footprint.
Designers also wanted to give visitors a heightened sense of
their surroundings and to engage the way people move around the
space. Some of the accordion-like walls are meant to leave
occupants wondering what's around the corner, while glass
undulations enable occupants to walk in and out of nature. The
undulations in the building's main corridor become display cases,
while in the auditorium, they enhance acoustic performance.
The HEC has become a source of pride for first responders and
residents alike. It offers both newer students and experienced
professionals sophisticated, hands-on training, and is expected to
fill 19,000 jobs over the next 10 years.
The COD has developed strong energy and environmental standards
for all campus projects, and the HEC is no exception. The center is
registered to achieve LEED-NC Silver certification, which was
particularly important since it was designed to be a model facility
that other institutions throughout the nation are likely to
"The center has attracted a lot of attention, not only
throughout the Midwest and the country, but internationally, and
that's a good thing, because it allows us to give back to any
community that's concerned about public safety," says COD President
Dr. Robert Breuder.
Homeland Security Education Center, College of DuPage, Glen
Architect of record: Legat Architects Inc., Chicago
Design architect: Brubaker
Construction manager: Power
Construction Co., Schaumburg, Ill.
Civil engineer: V3, Woodridge, Ill.
Structural engineer: Larson Engineering, Naperville, Ill.
Landscape architect: JJR LLC, now known as SmithGroupJJR, Chicago
MEP engineers: AMSCO
Engineering Inc., Downers Grove, Ill.
Tactical design consultant: Tactical Design LLC, Arlington Heights,
Commissioning agent: SSRCx, Nashville,
Geotechnical borings: TSC LLC, Carol
ACM fabricator: Metal
Design Systems Inc., Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Aluminum composite material: Mitsubishi Plastics
Composites America Inc., Chesapeake, Va., www.alpolic-usa.com
Coating: Valspar, Minneapolis, www.paintandcolor.com
Curtainwall: Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope, Santa
Monica, Calif., www.oldcastlebe.com
Glazing: Guardian Industries Corp., Auburn Hills,
Insulated wall system: Dow Building Solutions,
Midland, Mich., www.dowbuildingsolutions.com
Soffit panels: Petersen Aluminum Corp., Elk Grove
Village, Ill., www.pac-clad.com
High-performance features decrease the HEC's energy use by 23
percent over a standard code-compliant building of similar size.
The project, which is registered to achieve LEED-NC Silver
certification, features a variety of sustainable attributes,
- Heat recovery energy wheels on all air supply units capture
return air from heated spaces, mix it with fresh air and then
return it to the spaces.
- Heat exchanger captures heat produced by chiller to heat
domestic water and heating piping system.
- Occupancy sensors throughout the facility automatically control
lighting, while preventing wasted energy in unoccupied spaces.
- Low-flush urinals and dual-flush toilets reduce water use 32
- Forest Stewardship Council certified bamboo used on all doors,
event space flooring, corridor wall panels and laboratory
- Aluminum panels are made of recycled beer and soft drink cans
that contain 20 percent recycled content and are recyclable.
- Low-E glazing on the north façade creates a 100 percent daylit
corridor, while a crenellated glass wall enables light-filled study
nooks within the corridor.
- Zero- and low-VOC materials, paints and sealants improve indoor
air quality, and help prevent employee illness.
- 50 percent of materials were locally
- 95 percent of construction waste was diverted from
- The site features bicycle storage and changing rooms.
- With LEED site boundaries, open green space exceeds the
- The building site is located on an existing parking lot,
reducing the amount of asphalt.
- Two bus stations are within a quarter mile of the facility,
encouraging public transportation.
- Cool roofs offer a Solar Reflectance Index (SRI) that exceeds
78, the LEED minimum.
Metal Wall Panels
Mitsubishi Plastics Composites America Inc.,
Chesapeake, Va., supplied 24,000 square feet of ALPOLIC
aluminum composite panels coated in three custom
blue-green metallic colors by Minneapolis-based Valspar. The
panels' random arrangement and blue-green colors merge
technology and nature.
A Vistawall curtainwall system from Santa Monica,
Calif.-based Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope with low-E
glazing from Guardian Industries Corp., Auburn Hills,
Mich., creates a 100 percent daylit corridor.
Crenellated Glass Walls
Along the north corridor, the crenellated glass walls
define student gathering zones and display a winding outdoor
path. The glass undulations enable occupants to walk in
and out of nature.
A 1,000-pound I-beam from one of the fallen World Trade Center
Towers, along with images and quotes related to the 9/11
tragedy, are in a lobby outside the auditorium, which doubles
as a fully functional mock courtroom.
The THERMAX Wall System by Dow Building Solutions, Midland,
Mich., provides simplified design,
streamlined construction and optimized energy
efficiency for a reduced carbon footprint.
The architects designed a facility solid enough to support
its primary function, yet unique enough to pique curiosity.
The building features a predictable block accentuated by
a series of unpredictable "episodes," including façade
recesses and protrusions, height variations, and color and
material differences. These differences create a
dialogue of contrasts: private and transparent, level and
angled, introverted and extroverted.
"Although we explored other contemporary materials during
design, we elected to use metal because it offers a superior
level of color customization," says Legat Architects' Jay
Johnson, project manager of the Homeland Security Education
Center. "Additionally, the appearance of the metal changes
depending on shading, sunlight and perspective. You can't get
that with other products."
April 7, 2010 Design completion
April 2010 Issue for bid
May 20, 2010 Bid date
May 2010 Construction start
Feb 2011 MEP equipment start-up
March 2011 Metal panel
July 2011 Construction complete