Trends in Government Facility Design in 2017

As we enter 2017, it’s important to reflect on years past, looking into how design philosophy has evolved and where we see those philosophies in design moving in coming years. We understand the challenges associated with government entities moving slowly when change is needed, but we are optimistic with the movements afoot that are revolutionizing each building type we focus our attention on at K2M.

Corrections Facilities
Treatment based programming and facilities will continue to be the focus of design for youth, men, and women’s facilities. These treatment based facilities have been shown to reduce recidivism in our prison and jail populations, along with providing a more humane treatment of incarcerated individuals. This progress provides safer and more secure facilities for both staff and inmates. The picture to the left is a rendering of the Circleville Juvenile Correctional Facility, currently in design development with the HOK and K2M team.

As we discussed last year in a blog, costs in correctional construction continue to rise due in part to a contraction in available manufactures. As costs rise for material and labor in most markets, facility design will continue to lend itself to using building modularity methods such as steel cells, wall panels, and precast construction. This will put added pressure on the manufacturers to increase their capacity to handle the demand. The importance and power of relationships with the manufacturers, security electronics contractors (SECs), and detention equipment contractors (DECs) will also play a critical role for all parties involved in a building project or operations.

Judicial Buildings
Operationally inefficient court operations and an aging infrastructure will drive the right sizing of court operations, as will constrained construction budgets that are available for new judicial facilities. The best practice trends below will shrink the traditional square footage allowances per judge and the overall size of court facilities.

  • Space utilization – use of shared space, open work areas, and clear circulation reduces wasted space and maximizes building efficiency.
  • Optimal adjacencies – decisions like co-locating all public service functions, prioritizing high-volume functions on lower floors and consolidating departments reduces unnecessary movement through a courthouse.
  • Staffing – departmental consolidation and co-locating work areas in open offices creates opportunities for cross training and eliminates some redundancy in staff functions.
  • Case processing – minimizing physical obstacles in moving cases along, such as prisoner delivery time to a courtroom, courtroom availability and case file flow reduces

Service and Maintenance Facilities
As with correctional facilities mentioned above, pre-manufactured facilities will continue to be the general focus for the majority of service based buildings such as: vehicle maintenance, buildings & grounds service, and warehouse / storage facilities to name a few. Pre-engineered metal buildings offer government a fast and relatively inexpensive way to develop buildings of this type. In addition, the manufacturer’s ability to customize the exterior to suit virtually any architectural design guideline is critical for communities that are highly sensitive to a buildings aesthetic qualities.

Administrative Functions
We anticipate governments across the country will find new ways to improve access, efficiency in operation, and ability to retract / retain a younger population of workers. In order to best serve its constituents, many will evaluate techniques being used in the private market and at a federal level. Finding ways to incorporate best practices that can be implemented, such as reducing its footprint, designing office space that is more open to a collaborative environment approach, using modular furniture and wall systems will help admin functions remain flexible to the changing demands in its operation and needs of its employees.

Having extensive experience in multiple markets, both public and private, allows K2M a unique perspective into trends and solutions that can be adapted to every scenario. Contact our team to discuss improving efficiency and productivity within your administration.