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Santa Clara Police Headquarters


Santa Clara CA

Known as the Mission city due to its 1777 Spanish Mission church, Santa Clara has a long tradition of honest architecture. As the police department was growing out of their original headquarters, the city wanted CJK to design the new building as a gateway along the El Camino Real, an important entry point to the city and across from Santa Clara university and the original Mission.

Developing the police programing and strategic master planning took many hours of community participation as well as thoughtful practice. In the end, what was produced is a quality building with an iconic yet welcoming image, all while remaining on budget. Housing over 150 officers plus staff, the $12.8 M Headquarters was completed in 1999 and is vital to the effectiveness and efficiency of the Police department.

The 51,500 sq. ft. main building is unusual for a police station due to its warm and welcoming persona, striking arches and sensitivity to history and tradition within this old city. Attached to the building is a 6,400 sq. ft. warehouse and parking lot for the many police vehicles. A smaller drop off in front makes access rational and easy.

Making the task more difficult, during the design phase the project was designated as an essential services facility and needed to be designed to withstand a 1 in 478 year seismic event by code. The site is underlain by a thick strata of mud from the nearby bay and the cost to deal with the seismic loads became an issue. In addition, the property was used as a utility yard from approximately 1890 through the 1960’s. Coal gas was used to power gas street lights and to generate electricity onsite from the 1890s through the 1930’s. These issues contributed to difficult site conditions. We worked with multiple consultants to determine the best course to remediate the various site issues. Vanir managed a Value Engineering review of the seismic system that led to the implementation of a viscous dampening system to handle seismic loads but did not break the budget.

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