O&G Industries Inc. – Stamford, Connecticut, Police Station
When O&G Industries Inc., one of the Northeast’s largest construction companies, broke ground on Stamford, Connecticut’s, new police station in February 2017, it was the beginning of a welcome upgrade for the city’s public safety, and the public at large.
The current 40,000-square-foot headquarters were built in 1971, and they weren’t big enough to house all the departments associated with public safety, such as SWAT, Bomb Squad and Special Response. The old building was also having trouble with asbestos and lead contamination, and the too-small parking lot sent police officers who were stationed at the headquarters scrambling to find space on the street.
“It is exactly what you would think of as a mid-century police station,” says Ryan Benoit, O&G’s project manager for the Stamford Police Station, referring to the old building’s shadowed entranceway and few windows. “And I think the police would be the first to tell you it did nothing to get people to want to come in and meet with them.”
This public image bothered Stamford’s city government, especially Mayor David Martin, who wanted the police station to serve as a hub for the community. So in 2016, the city hired Jacunski Humes Architects to design a new police station that was not only large enough to house all public safety departments, but appeared more welcoming to Stamford’s citizens.
The first floor lobby will be surrounded by windows on three sides, and, per the city’s request, the building will also have space for a community center, which the city plans on using for community meetings, such as signing up for Little League, charitable bake sales and the like.
The new 94,000-square-foot police station includes an indoor shooting range, upgraded locker rooms and a four-story, 214-space parking garage which will also serve as home for the department’s maintenance garage and Motorcycle Unit.
“I love the idea that the police want to be more involved and open with the community, and if [O&G] can build them a building that allows them to do that, it makes me feel great,” he says.
Nearly a century to draw from
Founded in 1923, O&G is the largest privately-owned construction company in Connecticut, and is already well-acquainted with Stamford.
In the last decade alone, O&G has acted as general contractor for multi-million dollar ground-up construction projects, and subbed out for site work and concrete paving for the city along the Long Island Sound.
Besides general construction, O&G offers design-build and construction management services. It also provides heavy civil construction services for road and bridge construction, site development and large-scale earthworks, using its own fleet of cranes, tractors and earth movers.
For 94 years, O&G has worked on nearly every type of municipal and commercial construction. Clients range from healthcare facilities and operating manufacturing plants to airports and universities. Stamford’s police station is the first the company has tackled since the 1970s, when O&G built a station for the city of Trumbull, Connecticut.
“What makes a project like this unique is we’ve got to work with things like bulletproof glass, and build detention facilities, but we’ve also got to take into account juvenile versus adult offenders,” Benoit says.
But Benoit is confident in O&G’s ability to tackle just about anything.
“We’ve worked with a wide variety of projects and areas, and that gives us insights into what needs to happen,” he says. For instance, when Benoit’s team discusses tactics with the project’s concrete subcontractor, O&G will draw on its own experience installing and maintaining concrete for commercial and municipal projects. It is also very familiar with Stamford’s building codes and can depend on its fleet of equipment to keep the job running smoothly, Benoit says.
In April, O&G was halfway through the excavation of 9,000-cubic-yards of ledgestone, and is on schedule to complete the project by February 2019.
Collaboration in the office and the field
Because the station is a public project, a construction manager from the city’s Engineering Department oversees the entire job, serving as the intermediary between O&G and the local government. Benoit says his team also works with the fire marshal and public building officials to make sure everything O&G does is up to city code.
“This level of communication is key to any successful project, because the more ‘buy in’ we can get from the parties involved, the better the result,” he says.
Benoit says he learned this by watching the leaders of O&G interact with their own employees. Even though O&G has a nationwide reach, it is still a family-run company, currently in its fourth generation of leadership. “This means if I don’t understand something or I have a question I can walk into the owner’s office tomorrow, address him by his first name, and draw on his many years of experience,” Benoit says.
Benoit says he and the rest of his team work hard to bring the O&G culture of approachability and communication with them to every project.
“I’ve found in my experience, that while everyone is not always going to agree on a project, if we all have respect for each other, we can come up with a solution that is best for everyone, and by collaborating we make sure everyone gets the best project for the best budget.”
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