Design Insights: Westshore Community College Safety Training Center

In response to the growing need for public safety training, WSCC developed a vision for a multi-dimensional regional training center for public safety programs, including law enforcement and related fields, generating interest throughout central west Michigan.  The College identified an available existing 15-year old building on seven acres in Freesoil, Michigan that could be adapted and reused as an education and training facility to serve both the College and other communities on a regional basis. The adapted building includes classrooms, offices, reception area, conference space, computer labs, simulation labs, forensics lab, 911 training space, open training area, locker rooms and shower facilities, student commons, indoor firing range, and related spaces within the two-story, 21,000 SF facility.

As an education facility, the development of new student-occupied space on two levels for WSCC use included:  

  • Architectural upgrades throughout the existing building
  • Fire Protection for the south portion of the main level
  • Elevator to connect both levels
  • Simulation labs
  • New corridor passageways
  • Observation spaces for groups

The inclusion of an indoor firing range required particular design focus on two things:  quick evacuation of smoke and acoustic separation to diminish interruption of normal operations in surrounding spaces.  Within the limited floor-to-floor dimension, an innovative HVAC design achieved the required smoke evacuation, and the strategic placement of sound attenuation within the range area reduced sound transfer to achieve normal daily operations without significant distraction.

New lighting and glass panels expanded the reach of natural light well into spaces at the center of the building.