Work In Progress Construction updates.
» Readying CCU’s new ‘beacon of light’
By Ruseell Alston, Office of University Communication
When David Roper accepted the position of chief of operations for Coastal Carolina University’s Department of Public Safety, he knew his department would need a place that stood out on campus, a “beacon of light” letting everyone know that he and his crew would be there whenever someone needs assistance.
“Coastal is a town, and every town needs a police department; a place that stands out so everyone knows where it’s located. We’re finally getting that with this new building.”
The new Department of Public Safety building will be located next to CCU’s Student Counseling and Health Services, off the U.S. 501 entrance on University Boulevard. Construction on the one-story, $1.64 million, 5,600-square-foot space began on Aug. 21, 2012. It will house more than 15 offices, men’s and women’s locker rooms (complete with showers), an interview room including a two-way mirror, a break area, a secure evidence room containing five evidence lockers (one refrigerated), a training room and a communications center, the heart of the new building.
Monitors will dominate the center, occupying three of the room's four walls. The screens will allow employees to monitor more than 500 cameras that will be positioned across campus.
A smaller room in the back is where a dispatcher will sit behind a two-way mirror observing the entire operation.
“This expansion is based on the size of our campus,” says Capt. Tom Mezzapelle, public safety’s training and compliance officer.
According to the 2010 U.S. Census, Conway is comprised of approximately 16,317 citizens. The students, faculty and staff of Coastal Carolina University total 9,969 people, based on the school’s 2012-2013 Common Data Set.
“The current public safety building is more of an accommodation. The new building is more purposeful — purposely built to be a police station, with a separate communications room and a separate evidence room.”
According to Jerry Starling, project manager with CCU’s Department of Facilities and Planning, the building may not be LEED certified, but it will “follow the lead” by adopting and implementing some LEED standards. LEED is a program that provides third-party verification of green buildings. Building projects satisfy prerequisites and earn points to achieve different levels of certification.
For instance, no light switches will be seen in the building. Sensors along the ceilings allow for automatic lighting based on the presence or absence of movement.
The building is also structurally sound. “Overkill by intention; the contractor says this will be the last building [on campus] to fall,” says Starling. The brick façade is on load-bearing metal studs, with shop-fabricated wood trusses. A portion of the building will have a smoke barrier, essentially making it fire free due to doors that automatically close when they sense smoke. The area is also surrounded by walls, fire rated at two hours, that reach to the roofline, whereas typical fire-rated walls extend to the ceiling. In case of a power outage, a natural gas-powered backup generator in the rear of the building ensures no loss of power or communications.
All of this is crucial, says Mezzapelle. “Communications is critical. We’re the ones who will deal with any aftermath, so we must remain functional.”
The new CCU Department of Public Safety is currently in its painting and cleanup stage, says Starling. A substantial completion date is set for Aug.7. Final completion is expected on Sept. 7.
“This is a pretty big deal for us. We might just have to have a ribbon cutting/grand opening,” says Roper.