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updated: 12/17/2012 1:56 PM

CISCO Names Homeland Security Education Center Best Project in Chicago Suburbs

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The College of DuPage Homeland Security Education Center received a "Project of the Year" award in the Construction Industry Service Corporation's (CISCO) 2012 Pride in Construction Award Program.

The annual competition recognizes top-quality union construction projects based on design, quality of construction, safety record and impact on the surrounding community.

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The Homeland Security Education Center, designed by Legat Architects and Brubaker Design, received top honors in the New Construction/Suburbs category, which covers the counties of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake and McHenry.

The center responds to growing public concerns about national security and regional unemployment. The first facility of its kind in the Midwest, the 62,000-square-foot facility is an epicenter for multi-jurisdictional training. It 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.

Selection of the project was made by the CISCO board, consisting of 20 professionals representing the labor and management sides of the construction industry.

"The jury was highly impressed by the uniqueness of the Homeland Security Education Center," said CISCO public relations director Gary Karafiat. "The interior streetscape for emergency training went over really well."

The first-of-its-kind Interior Immersive Training Lab is a zone for urban response simulations ranging from simulated fires to staged bank robberies. Its brick/stucco walls, canopies, and street lights suggest Main Street, but behind the storefronts are classrooms and labs.

Karafiat also said that the center's impact on the community was a deciding factor. "With its sophisticated first responder training and projected impact on the job market, the facility clearly strengthens the bond between the college and the community."

A formal awards presentation is scheduled for late January 2013.

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