The Sabrina Centre Gloucestershire, UK
The Sabrina Centre – named after the mythical goddess of the River Severn – provides a state-of-the-art, eco-friendly facility for the next generation of our police force.
The project comprises the refurbishment of Berkeley House, a 1990s office building at the site of the former Berkeley Nuclear Power Station, on behalf of Gloucestershire Constabulary.
The building’s intended purpose was not just to provide office accommodation. It was also to provide a new, state-of-the-art police training resource with a conference centre, flexible meeting rooms, lecture theatres, a gym, a parade ground and facilities for taser and virtual reality training. The training resource would be for use by Gloucestershire Constabulary as well as being made available to other forces and agencies.
Given the site was vacant and the building deemed structurally sound, we decided to adapt the existing building rather than create a new build. This was regarded as the best course of action both economically and environmentally.
Wherever possible, meeting rooms and amenities were designed to be naturally vented from external windows. We carefully positioned partitions to ensure we lost the minimum existing opening lights.
Working with existing buildings always presents challenges, particularly in relation to plant strategy and loadings.
In terms of loadings, we carefully selected moveable walls with floor tracks so only head restraint was required. This ensured it could be accommodated within the existing structure and without costly alterations. We also developed a power and data strategy, which, in conjunction with the furniture strategy, allowed us to distribute cabling to all areas in the building without the need for unsightly power poles. The furniture strategy comprised desking systems with umbilical cords linking back to perimeter trunking, as well as centrally placing furniture in the floorplates. By coordinating with the existing waffle slabs, the furniture could then be fed from the floor below.
In addition, the building represented a challenge because of the intensification of its new use. As such, the current staircases’ escape capacities were insufficient to cope with the increased occupancy. We developed a solution that provided lobbied staircases on the ground floor, which significantly increased escape capacities.
It has been an honour to work on this project and help realise the vision of Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl, who acquired a 150-year lease on the building rent-free for £600,000 from the Nuclear Decommissioning Agency.
This ambitious project has been delivered for £4m and is now the UK’s leading police training facility.