05/04/2007

Saving the world: Chicago-area PD goes green

By Carmen Greco Jr., Special to the Tribune
The Chicago Tribune
 
ORLAND PARK, Ill. — Orland Park's new $12.5 million police station is one of the first truly "green" municipal buildings in the southwest suburbs, officials said.

The environmentally friendly building was converted from an old carpet and tile store that otherwise would have been demolished and sent to a landfill. Its parking lots have been paved with porous bricks to reduce water run-off, and the building has been capped with a "white roof" that reflects sunlight and conserves energy.

About that water run-off: Much of it flows into an underground 2,000-gallon cistern, where it stays until it is recycled for watering the landscaping.

"Everybody likes the fact that this is an environmentally friendly building," said Orland Park Police Chief Timothy McCarthy.

The building at 15100 S. Ravinia Ave. has additional features that McCarthy and his 97-officer department appreciate. It boasts more than three times the space of the existing police station about five blocks away, creating much-needed work areas for officers and staff.

"We simply had no space, period," McCarthy said.

That crunch could lead to uncomfortable situations where both the suspect and victim of a crime would be interviewed in close proximity, McCarthy said.

But the new 62,000-square-foot station, which is scheduled to be fully operational by the end of this month, has enough conference room space to keep victims and suspects well separated.

McCarthy said he was not altogether enthusiastic about a green building when village officials began planning for it seven years ago. Chief among his concerns was the 8 percent increase in construction costs to make it eco-friendly.

But he said village officials were "ahead of the curve" with the building, particularly as the increasing threat of global warming reinvigorates Americans' concern about the environment.

The public will get a chance to tour the building from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday and Tuesday. 

Copyright 2007 Chicago Tribune

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