The steel is rising as a huge crane lifts beams for the classroom building of the new Police Academy in College Point.
On an exclusive tour Tuesday of the 30-acre site in the College Point Corporate Park, the Queens Chronicle got a close-up view of the $656 million Phase 1 project that is expected to be completed in two years.
Robin Burns, senior design specialist, and MacKenzie Landers, project administrator, both from the city’s Department of Design and Construction, showed a lighted model to explain the work. Three buildings are being erected in Phase 1: a seven-story academic facility, a two-story physical training building and a central utility structure.
Burns said the glass-covered academic building will include classrooms as well as tactical areas featuring an office and a subway car for training, while the physical training facility will be connected to it by a second-floor bridge. There will be gyms, a pool, a field house, a running track and a dining area.
It is estimated that up to 2,000 cadets will be able to train at the new academy during their six-month cycles. Phase 1 will also include parking for up to 900 cars.
Burns indicated that his agency does not know if Phase 2 work will begin immediately after the earlier construction is completed. “It depends on the city’s budget at the time,” he said.
The second phase, which will incorporate NYPD facilities now located across the city, will feature indoor shooting ranges, a tactical village, a police museum, additional parking for 300 cars and a housing area for visiting officers from out of the area.
The academy, now located in Manhattan, is over 40 years old, and was built for a department half the size of the current one.
The new site is bounded by College Point Boulevard, Ulmer Street and 28th and 31st avenues. The total cost of the project is around $1 billion.
Landers said the project is both on time and on budget. An on-site office for the DDC and Turner Construction/STV houses about 50 employees. Outside, 180 workers were on the job. In later months, up to 800 will be working there.
Although the project began last year, not much was visible until recently because the area, a former landfill and later the city’s largest car impound lot, required a lot of clearing and site preparation. It was also necessary to install a methane gas venting system.
Because of the area’s high water table, at least 6,000 piles had to be driven. Concrete and foundation work followed and continued as well as the installation of utilities.
“This is an unusually large site for the city,” Landers said. “We’ll be here until it’s finished.”