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Construction Set for College’s New Public Safety Institute

December 16, 2013 - Construction will begin next month on a new Public Safety Institute at Eastern Florida State College that will mark the start of a planned expansion of its Melbourne campus.

PSI rendering
An artist's rendering shows the exterior of the new Public Safety Institute slated to open in February 2015.

The college’s Board of Trustees gave the $13.2 million project the go-ahead Monday, with officials saying it will rank among the top facilities of its kind in Florida.

The new institute will consolidate programs spread across the college’s four campuses and house a Law Enforcement Academy, Corrections Academy and programs for emergency medical services, criminal justice, crime scene technology and fire science.

The 66,000 square-foot facility will contain classrooms, a crime scene laboratory, mock jail and courtroom, tactical training room and offices for faculty, staff and the district office of the college president.

It will also feature a Memorial Plaza to honor fallen police officers, firefighters and other public safety workers in an open-air area that will serve as a gathering place for students.

Groundbreaking is set for Jan. 22. The building is scheduled to open in February 2015.

Eastern Florida President Dr. Jim Richey called the institute a milestone for the college.

PSI training yard
A state-of-the-art training yard will be included in the new institute, shown here in an artist's drawing.

He said it will provide students with a state-of-the-art facility to pursue their careers by bringing together a wide range of programs and resources, setting a standard for other such institutes across Florida and the nation.

He also said its design will be an architectural model for what the campus will look like as other new buildings are constructed in a similar style and the outside of existing structures are renovated to create an inviting collegiate environment.

“Public safety professionals dedicate their lives to protecting our community and often put their own lives at risk doing so. They deserve the best education and training possible and will get it at our new institute,” Richey said.

“The building’s striking design will also be an important statement about the college’s new direction and continuing growth as we offer more programs to serve the higher education and workforce needs of Brevard County and Central Florida.”

College officials want to build three other new buildings on the Melbourne campus in the coming decade: A Health Sciences Building, STEM Building for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, and Business Building to serve Eastern Florida’s 20 new Bachelor Degrees, Associate Degrees and other programs in those fields.

Construction of those additional facilities would be dependent on receiving funds from the state Legislature.

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Among the unique classrooms in the new Public Safety Institute will be a mock courtroom.

The college received $14 million from the Legislature in 2012 to construct and equip the Public Safety Institute and replace the current aged structure that will be razed.

The original estimate called for a 55,000-square-foot building, but the college was able to add more than 11,000-square-feet for a construction cost of $13.2 million through competitive bidding.

The remaining $800,000 will be spent to purchase equipment, furniture and furnishings.

The three-story building will carry a “gold standard” designation for high energy efficiency and its second story will be connected to the adjacent Dr. Joe Lee Smith Teaching Center.

The facility was designed by BRPH, an international architecture and engineering design firm based in Melbourne. Ajax Building Corp. of Jacksonville will manage the construction. The company has built similar structures, including the Leon County-City of Tallahassee Public Safety Complex and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Crime Lab and Office Building.

Some 26 subcontracts have also been awarded, with 72 percent of the work done through area companies.