Published On: Tue, Jun 13th, 2023

PBSC’s Public Safety Training Center named a finalist in AIA Florida 2023 People’s Choice Competition

Nominated for AIA Florida’s 2023 People’s Choice Award, the 143,000-square-foot Public Safety Training Center on PBSC’s Lake Worth campus is the largest facility of its kind in Palm Beach County and home to the College’s Public Safety programs in Criminal Justice, Emergency Medical Services and Fire Science

Lake Worth, FL – The Public Safety Training Center on Palm Beach State College’s Lake Worth campus was selected by the Florida Association of the American Institute of Architects as a distinguished example of public safety architecture in the state. It is now a candidate in the 2023 People’s Choice competition, which this year is a tribute to the architecture that is keeping Florida safe.

Designed to engage the public in discussions about architecture, the People’s Choice competition is held annually by AIA Florida and the Florida Foundation for Architecture. The competition has generated more than 12 million votes since its inception in 2012.

Voting starts June 16
Voting is open to the public and begins at noon Eastern on Friday, June 16, and ends at 11:59 p.m. Eastern on Friday, July 28. Vote at

Voters will have a choice of 28 buildings from across the state that are dedicated to public safety. The Public Safety Training Center, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, is the only college building in the competition and was previously nominated for this award in 2014.

“This facility is an exceptionally sophisticated architectural design,” said Kirk Stetson, facilities planning manager at PBSC. “It includes an homage to 9/11 in the skewing of the entry walkway at 9⁰ 11’, punctuated with blue walkway mini-lights signifying the ‘thin blue line’ of law enforcement. The open proximity to the PBSC Fire Academy Training area encourages cross-communication among fire, EMS and criminal justice students as they prepare to become emergency providers, fostering a fellowship of common effort.”

All structures of the Public Safety Training Center were designed by Stephen Boruff, AIA, Architects + Planners, Inc. and constructed by Balfour Beatty, Inc. The facility’s driving range with skid pad was constructed by Fastrack MCI.

“Through design, architects have the ability to create spaces to enhance the human experience while protecting the health, safety and welfare of our communities—tools essential to supporting first responders as they face the daily call to serve,” said AIA Florida President Beverly Frank, AIA, LEED AP. “As a vital part of the planning process, architects collaborate with key members to identify challenges, develop solutions and ensure our communities have tangible resources crucial to sustaining a thriving community.”

About the Public Safety Training Center

The 143,000-square-foot Public Safety Training Center, the largest facility of its kind in Palm Beach County, opened in April 2013 as the new home for Palm Beach State College’s Public Safety programs. Students enrolled in PBSC’s degree and certificate programs in Criminal Justice, Emergency Medical Services and Fire Science use the facility to prepare for careers as law enforcement officers, crime scene investigators, firefighters, paramedics, EMTs, 911 dispatchers, corrections officers and more. The College also uses the center to conduct advanced training for public safety professionals and host first responder competitions, like the recent PBSC Invitational, which attracted over 250 first responders.

Public Safety Training Center incorporates authentic public safety environments and professional skill-building venues, including a courtroom, jail and booking area (sally port), 911 dispatch center, indoor firing range, tactical training gym, five-story fire training tower, driving range with skid pad, conference center and a three-story classroom building with fully equipped labs—all providing limitless opportunities for hands-on, reality-based learning. The College recently implemented VirTra, a virtual emergency response training system for criminal justice students in active shooter scenarios.

In 2014, the Public Safety Training Center was awarded LEED® Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices; gold is the second highest certification. The center’s successful use of methods to conserve energy, water and resources includes super-insulated walls, roofs and windows, energy-efficient lighting, low-flow water fixtures, materials with low VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and use of regional and recycled materials. The result reduces greenhouse gas emissions, preserves natural resources, creates a healthier environment and saves money on annual operating costs.

The 28 buildings vying for the AIA Florida People’s Choice Award are:

  • AIA Florida Gulf Coast

City of North Port Public Safety Building

Longboat Key Fire Station #92

Sarasota County Siesta Key Fire Station #13

Sarasota County Fire Station #1

  • AIA Florida Northwest

Perdido Key Fire Station #19

Watercolor Fire Station

Midway Fire Station 35

City of Pensacola Fire Station #1

  • AIA Florida Southwest

Estero Fire Rescue Station 45 and Training Facility

Matlacha Fire Station #4

Fort Myers Fire Station No. 1 and Administration

Naples Fire Station No. 1 and Administration

  • AIA Fort Lauderdale

Hallandale Beach Fire Rescue Station and EOC

Sunrise Public Safety Complex

Lighthouse Point Fire Rescue Headquarters and EOC

  • AIA Gainesville

Gainesville Fire Rescue #1

  • AIA Jacksonville

City of Jacksonville Etown Fire Station 74

  • AIA Miami

City of Coral Gables Public Safety Building

City of Coral Gables Fire Station 2 Renovation/Addition & Trolley Maintenance Facility

  • AIA Orlando

Windermere Police Department and Town Facilities

  • AIA Palm Beach

Town of Jupiter Police Headquarters

Boca Raton Fire Rescue Station No. 6

Seacoast Utility Authority Campus Headquarters

Palm Beach State College Public Safety Training Center

  • AIA Tallahassee

Leon County/City of Tallahassee Consolidated Public Safety Campus

  • AIA Tampa Bay

Dunedin Fire Station 61

St. Petersburg Police Headquarters

  • AIA Treasure Coast

Douglas M. Anderson Emergency Operations Center

Founded in 1933 as Florida’s first public community college, Palm Beach State College has been an integral player in the growth and prosperity of Palm Beach County. Our graduates impact every industry and are community and business leaders. With more than 130 programs of study, PBSC offers bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, professional certificates, career training and lifelong learning. More than 36,000 students enroll annually in face-to-face, online, live online and hybrid classes at five convenient locations in Lake Worth, Boca Raton, Palm Beach Gardens, Belle Glade and Loxahatchee Groves. Learn more at

The Florida Association of the American Institute of Architects, AIA Florida, headquartered in Tallahassee, represents the interests of more than 3,900 members in Florida. Members adhere to a code of ethics and professional conduct that assures the client, the public and colleagues of an AIA member architect’s dedication to the highest standards in professional practice.

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