No buyer’s remorse at police headquarters

By Bill Sawchuk, The Standard

New Niagara Regional Police headquarters in Niagara Falls. Bob Tymczyszyn/St. Catharines Standard/Postmedia Network

New Niagara Regional Police headquarters in Niagara Falls. Bob Tymczyszyn/St. Catharines Standard/Postmedia Network

It is one of the biggest building projects Niagara’s regional government has undertaken, and despite some early hiccups, the opening of Niagara Regional Police headquarters in Niagara is proceeding relatively smoothly.

The $65-million, taxpayer-funded project — which was under construction for almost three years — opened its doors last September.

Headquarters units then began relocating to the new facility in staged moves that took about two months to complete.

“There have been a few minor issues at the new facility as we transitioned from construction to operations, but nothing we would consider major,” said Marnie Cluckie, Niagara Region’s director of construction, energy and facilities management.

“From my experience with bringing new buildings online, there have been relatively few issues at this site — especially given the size and complexity of this particular facility.”

The 18,900-square-metre, three-storey complex, located off Valley Way in Niagara Falls, replaced two facilities: the Niagara Falls detachment on Morrison Street and police headquarters on James Street in St. Catharines. It was built by Carillion Canada Inc.

Some of the early problems in the new building included water damage in the board room on the first floor, which was the result of a loose fitting on a supply line that fed a toilet in the detention area, Cluckie said.

That led to a water leak in one of the cells above the board room. The damage consisted of some wet ceilings tiles, which were removed, and some water saturation on the boardroom carpet. The fitting was replaced.

There has also been a roof leak near one of the skylights, Cluckie said.

The region reported the leak to the contractor, and the company is in the process of investigating the source of the leak. The contractor will make the repairs to the skylight or surrounding roof area, Cluckie said. The water damage from the leaky roof was limited to few ceiling tiles, which have been replaced.

“These types of issues are typical when a new building opens and represent the growing pains of bringing a new facility on-line,” Cluckie said. “The issues are covered under the warranty, which forms part of our contract, so it is the contractor’s responsibility to make any repairs necessary.”

The facility is home to about 600 of the NRP’s 1,100 uniform and civilian members.

From the perspective of the headquarters personnel using the building, having everyone under one roof is expected to increase efficiency and morale.

Years of planning went into the structure and its design.

One large office space can accommodate up to 80 detectives and has several adjoining conference and meeting rooms.

Initial discussions about the facility — such as where it would be built, and what form it would take — began 15 years ago.

Police Chief Jeff McGuire said the research and effort that went into the design and construction of this purpose-built facility, by both the police and regional staff, is paying off.

“As is the case with all projects of this magnitude, there a number of fixes and tweaks that need to be taken care of, and we are in the process of that,” McGuire said.

“We are very satisfied with the new facility.

“I am confident that the building is one of the most modern and efficient police facilities in the country and will serve this community well for many years.”