A joint venture of New York-based Turner Construction and STV has been awarded the $650 million construction management contract for the first phase of a new police academy for the New York City Police Department designed by Perkins+Will. City officials held a ceremonial groundbreaking on Wednesday.

Perkins+Will / Consulting Architect: Michael Fieldman Architects

The first phase will consist of a recruit academic building with an administration wing, a physical training complex with tactical demonstration gyms and a central utility plant that can accommodate future sequences as well as a field house, a running track, a parking lot and room to accommodate future phases.

The academy project goes back as far as 1989 when it was originally proposed by former Mayor Ed Koch. Plans were started and stopped several times over the last 20 years. Now, it comes at a time when the city’s construction industry needs it most with more than 500 projects shut down citywide and unemployment reaching its highest level in years.

The facility, located on a 35-acre campus at the former NYPD Auto Pound lot in College Point, Queens, will be isolated from residential streets, reducing any impact its operations will have on the community and will be built to accommodate the NYPD’s recruit and in-service training requirements as well as offering advanced instruction to law enforcement officers from throughout the United States and around the world.

This 72,000-sq-ft project is also being designed to achieve a LEED Silver rating. Some of the sustainable design measures under consideration include an energy-efficient central utility plant; green roods and high albedo roofs; a high performance building envelope with solar shading and daylight enhancement; daylight harvesting in classrooms and offices; rainwater harvesting and reuse on site; bio-filtration of storm water runoff; energy-efficient lighting in all spaces; and automated building controls.

“The world’s finest police department needs the world’s finest training facilities,” said Department of Design and Construction Commissioner David J. Burney. “The DDC is proud to be working with our colleagues in public service and the best design construction professionals to make this a training facility second to none.”

The first phase of the new police academy is scheduled to be completed by 2013.