Home to over 120,000 residents and counting, Kelowna is the largest city in BC’s Interior. Until 2017, it was served by a police station built in 1962, when the city had fewer than 15,000 people. For the city’s busy police force, space was tight.
That all changed with the opening of the City of Kelowna Police Services Building, which brings together several key departments, once scattered across three satellite locations, and provides enough workspace for 380 officers, support staff, and volunteers. The building features modern facilities for evidence, identification, forensics, and records, as well as a laboratory and secure cell block. It’s designed to meet the needs of the growing city for the next half century and beyond.
Working with the developer, Bird Construction, and architect, Kasian, BKL consulted on the building’s acoustics. BKL’s goal was to ensure that acoustical conditions within the building would be ideal for police work. This included providing sufficiently sound-isolated spaces for privacy and low-reverberant conditions for speech intelligibility, as well as assessing interior and exterior noise levels of the building’s mechanical systems to provide low background noise conditions.
To maintain speech privacy, BKL reviewed and developed strategies for separating wall and floor assemblies to make sure sound was adequately isolated between adjacencies. This was particularly necessary for interview rooms, secure rooms, and the private offices of senior staff. The walls and floor assemblies were supplemented by door and interior glazing selections to maintain a contemporary and acoustically commensurate design.
The control of reverberant sound was an important part of the services provided by BKL as the clear and necessary understanding of speech is critical to everyday police work. BKL developed appropriate room finishes and sizes to provide excellent conditions for understanding speech.
Lastly, BKL reviewed the layout plans and specifications for the mechanical and air handling systems selected by the designers, and, using a software model, predicted how HVAC noise would sound throughout the building. BKL’s team compared its findings against project-specific criteria, which included detailed thresholds for different types of rooms. For example, interview rooms required lower background noise levels than office space and meeting rooms.
The acoustical team highlighted which rooms would experience higher HVAC noise and shared its findings in a detailed letter that also outlined its recommendations for unit selection and noise mitigation. Examples of mitigation included installing silencers for either air supply or return, and upgrading acoustical duct lining.
BKL also predicted exterior noise levels from mechanical systems to make sure they met the city’s noise bylaw. Since Kelowna’s noise bylaw is qualitative and contains no numerical criteria, BKL’s team drew upon other relevant municipal standards to establish specific thresholds. After analyzing the predicted noise emitted from the roof top units, BKL recommended an optimized design for noise mitigation, including barriers and silencers to protect the acoustical amenity of the surrounding neighbourhood.
The building’s well-designed room acoustics make its interior spaces effective, benefitting the officers who work in these spaces and the people they serve. By assessing external noise and making recommendations to control it, BKL ensured that Kelowna’s new police station not only fits the aesthetic of its surroundings but also avoids introducing negative noise impacts on the neighbourhood. These factors will surely contribute to the long-term success of this facility.
Kelowna Police Services Building
173,000 square feet