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Public Safety Building
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The building, located at 6373 Merle Hay Road, is the first to house the Johnston Police and Fire Departments under one roof.  The  facility offers more opportunities for training, improved crime and fire prevention services, and will be Johnston’s Emergency Operations Center during times of crisis and natural disasters.  The PSB offers complete fire and police protection to Camp Dodge and is one of Polk County's backup Emergency Operations Centers.

The U.S. Green Building Council recently designated Johnston's Public Safety Building as LEED silver certified. LEED certification identifies the building as a "showcase example of sustainable design and demonstrates our leadership in transforming the building industry," according to S. Richard Fedrizzi, CEO and Founding Chairman of the U.S. Green Building Council.

Johnston's Public Safety Building opened in August 2014 with Governor Terry Branstad presiding over the dedication. Great care was taken to make sure the building would be sustainable. A geothermal heating and cooling system is installed in the 46,000 square foot building and a backup generator will allow the building to operate no matter the conditions or crisis.

KCCI-TV story on new building

Des Moines Register story on new building

WOI-TV story on new building

There are some very visual aspects to the building that may interest visitors, such as a fourteen foot tall wooden monolith in the main lobby, created using maple slats, which separates the public space from the working areas of the facility. A display case on each side of the monolith will showcase the pride of the people who risk their lives every day to serve the community.


At the far northeast corner of the building, a fire-training tower stands above the rest of the facility. At a towering height of forty feet, this tower not only dries the fire hoses after use, but also provides the respective departments a location for on-site training and education.

A burnt cedar accent wall, located inside the Fire Department Administrative Office, uses a Japanese construction method, called Shou-Sugi-Ban, where the cedar planks are charred over an open fire to produce a fire-resistant building material. In this case, the accent wall provides a textural backdrop for the administration work area.


Located in the Police Department Administration Area, a cracked glazing accent wall was created by sandwiching three layers of tempered glass. The center pane was then shattered at multiple locations to create the spider-web of fissures.


Composed of local masonry, the outside design is meant to express a strong sense of civic architecture, solid and grounded. The zinc metal wall, slicing across the front of the building, emulates gun-metal bluing, expressive of the security that is provided by the two departments housed therein, a metaphorical shield for the community. The building is designed to be a landmark structure on the Merle Hay Road corridor, a facility that will stand the test of time.


Public Safety Building Fact Sheet:

-  Johnston voters approved a bond referendum in 2011, with 82.28% of the vote, to build the Public Safety Building

- The 46,000 square foot building is the first time Johnston’s Fire and Police Departments are under the same roof 

- The land size is 4.3 acres

- Leaders received LEED Silver certification on the building in early 2016

- The PSB has geothermal heating and cooling

- FEMA awarded a Hazard Mitigation Grant to help pay for a backup generator for the Public Safety Building.  They city's cost is reduced by 34% because of the FEMA funding.