HEC Named 2012 'Best Higher Education Project in Midwest' by ENR Midwest

The College of DuPage Homeland Security Education Center (HEC) in Glen Ellyn, Ill., has been named the "Best Higher Education/Research Project" in ENR Midwest's Best Projects 2012 competition.

ENR (Engineering News-Record) Midwest is a design and construction news service that covers Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Missouri, as well as Iowa, Ohio, Michigan and Minnesota. Its annual Best Projects program recognizes outstanding design and construction in a variety of categories.

This year, the panel of design and construction professionals reviewed more than 130 entries for the competition. Panelists selected winning projects on the basis of design and construction quality, innovation, safety and the ability of their project teams to overcome unique challenges.

A Midwestern Epicenter
"The Homeland Security Education Center is the only first responder training facility of its kind in the Midwest," said COD President Dr. Robert L. Breuder. "When planning this building, we worked with local agencies, security consultants, architects and faculty members to create a facility that actually surpasses all expectations."

The HEC, designed by Legat Architects and Brubaker Design, is designed to prepare firefighters, police personnel and other first responders for international and domestic terrorist acts, as well as man-made and natural disasters.

Discovery and Remembrance
The building contains a 4,500 square-foot indoor "street scene" for force-on-force demos that can be light-, temperature-, and smog-controlled. A full-scale ambulance and smoke room with removable walls aids firefighter and paramedic training. In addition, the HEC offers realistic forensics and cybercrimes labs, an outdoor scaling and rappelling wall with removable windows to replicate "high tower saves," and a National Incident Management System (NIMS) control center and debriefing room for reviewing film taken by the 50-plus cameras that record training sessions. The building also offers criminal justice students a fully-equipped courtroom, which DuPage County also uses for procedural cases.

Soon after the building opened last fall, the College was one of a few schools selected to receive a permanent 9/11 memorial beam from the World Trade Center. This 27" x 127" beam weighs more than one thousand pounds and resides in the HEC's center atrium as a remembrance for both students and visitors to the COD campus.

The Homeland Security Education Center will compete against winners from eight other regions in ENR's National Best of the Best Projects 2012 competition.