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HOK’s Bob Schwartz on Redefining Detention Facilities Through Sustainability

HOK Senior Justice Planner Bob Schwartz coauthored a piece with DLR Group’s Erica Loynd exploring how sustainable features can redefine the design of detention facilities.

The article by the two co-chairs of the AIA’s Sustainable Justice Committee provides an in-depth look at the HOK-designed, LEED Gold San Mateo Maple Street Correctional Center (above) in Redwood City, a facility intended to reduce recidivism and redefine the role of county detention and state corrections facilities.

Excerpted from AIA KnowledgeNet:

Implementing sustainable features in buildings has frequently been equated with additional cost, maintenance and complexity.  As sustainable initiatives evolve, features accentuating human interaction with the built environment are taking priority. Justice facilities are taking advantage of these attributes and the benefits they have to offer for the owner, staff, and detainees. Post occupancy surveys and statistics indicate these facilities contribute to decreases in staff sick days and turnover rates as well as reductions in recidivism and physical incidents.

The facility is one of the first County jails in California to achieve LEED Gold. Everyone involved including the County, the Sheriff’s Office, the HOK design team, and the Sundt-Layton construction team to worked together to achieve these stringent goals.

California regulations have spearheaded sustainable features more than any entity in the country, and being mandated allows projects and budgets to substantiate sustainable features. San Mateo County was able to achieve these regulations, but focused on measures that reduce recidivism, aid transition and treatment as well as the personal benefits sustainability brings to detention facilities.

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