Previously located in an outdated facility that exceeded capacity, New Mexico’s Department of Public Safety (DPS) forensic and evidence storage functions were spread throughout the department’s campus headquarters posing risk to managing and maintaining chain of custody procedures. The new facility increases the facility’s capacity for current and future needs and boasts functional, flexible and efficient spaces for more than 50 forensic investigative personnel.
The facility houses modern, future-proofed laboratories for chemistry, biology/DNA, latent print, firearms/toolmarks and instrumentation. Additional spaces include a 50-callibar shooting range and water tank; evidence processing and control; high-density evidence storage and a sally port and exam bay equipped with a ceiling mounted pantograph system. Amenities include open administration spaces and offices, a large conference/training room; and indoor/outdoor collaboration areas (kitchen and patios) and a two-story lobby with a clerestory window.
Staff well-being was vital in the planning of the new facility. The building incorporates human-centered design elements such as natural light throughout; views of Santa Fe’s surrounding mountain range; flexible and collaborative workstations; and access to nature with multiple outdoor options for eating, relaxation and walking/biking.
With the onset of the COVID pandemic, the design team overcame collaboration obstacles to keep the state-funded project moving forward. The team’s ability to adapt and to convert to virtual work settings was a pivotal factor in the project’s success. Working collaboratively in remote settings not only maintained the project’s momentum but kept delays to a minimum and allowed the State to select a contractor before cost escalations, supply chain disruptions and materials shortages occurred.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Needs assessment; programming; lab planning and design; MEP engineering through SD; lab equipment planning
Dekker Perich Sabatini