Designed for Community: the Joseph D. Adams Public Safety Building
- August 24, 2021
- Design Everything, Public Architecture Utah, Public Safety Architect, Utah Architects
How the entire team brought success to Lehi’s newest facility
When the Joseph D. Adams Public Safety Building officially opened in October 2020, it capped years of effort by Lehi City leaders to achieve. While there was little doubt Lehi’s Police Department needed a new facility, the concerns about removing the historic Broadbent Building to construct it was a tough sell for some. “Initially, some people were a little skeptical,” explains Lehi Police Chief Darren Paul. “The historic Broadbent’s store had a sentimental attachment. They were skeptical we could construct a building and still pay tribute to the historic site.”
City leaders didn’t leave the design of this new state-of-the-art facility to chance. Instead, they enlisted Curtis Miner Architecture (CMA) to work with a variety of stakeholders, including community residents and business owners. The resulting station honors the community and its history, from its address, which is the same as the original Broadbent’s General Store, to its name, a homage to fallen officer Joseph Dan Adams.
Our design approach began with careful listening and learning. The team took into account the community’s historical, social, and physical design context and engaged stakeholders for input during in-person and virtual meetings. The design meshed three architectural styles and incorporated elements from the historic building, such as transoms, window design, and brick.
CMA enlisted the help of a public safety programming expert to design a public safety training and operations center that operates better and more efficiently. “The police department had never had a facility designed for their specific needs,” shares CMA principal Jay Taggart. The team recognized the design required a careful balance of security and hospitality. “Security issues were top of mind,” he continues. “We looked at flows and adjacencies for holding cells, labs and evidence processing, interview rooms, and storage areas. We also wanted to design spaces that increased contact and collaboration within the community – a building where visitors feel welcome.”
When everything from floors to doors receives special attention, the police department can provide more cost-effective services, enhancing response times. Police Chief Paul points to the ability to train in-house. “Rather than send a few officers out at a time, we can now train the entire department,” he reflects. And a new gun range means the department can now host training and testing for other departments.
The police chief recognizes a safe and efficient building enables his staff to be more effective in training and strengthens morale. “It’s been easier to recruit new officers. They see the facilities and get excited about working here. They see that Lehi is a great place to work. It’s a city that’s vibrant and supports law enforcement. That’s evident in the building itself.”
It’s rare to have the opportunity to chart a new course for a department and the community. CMA took great care to balance secure internal and publicly accessible spaces. A multi-purpose community space named after Joseph Broadbent features salvaged brick from his community store. That space can also serve as an emergency operations center for coordination of the City’s emergency planning, training, response and recovery efforts. Members of the community have expressed great interest in touring the building during an open house planned for August.
When Chief Paul and Jay reflect on the process, they both agree it was engaging and rewarding. “We’re very pleased with the outcome. The feedback in person and on social media has been very positive and from the law enforcement agencies who have used our training facilities. I don’t think we could be happier with the way that it went,” says Paul. He also praises the responsiveness of CMA, SIRQ Construction, and PCI. This partnering spirit is what CMA fosters on every project.
Jay takes pride in how the design team created a new standard of architecture while enhancing Lehi’s city block and campus. “I smile when I see photographers using the building as a backdrop for photo shoots, because the public is interacting with the building in a positive way.”
The hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed. The team’s efforts have been recognized with three awards for architecture and planning, including the High Achievement Award from the Utah Chapter of the American Planning Association.
But at the end of the day, a happy client and community is the greatest prize.