CA Emergency Ops Center & Schweiss Hydraulic Door

When officials went into the design phase for building the new Contra Costa County Public Safety Building & Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in Martinez, Calif., the decision was made to look to Schweiss Doors for one of the hydraulic designer doors.

The new Public Safety Building & Emergency Center is equipped with state-of-the-art disaster management and public safety technology. Sheriff’s Administration, Fiscal, Personnel and Emergency services are also located in the building. The 40,111-square foot building is designed to operate independently for up to a week in the event of a natural disaster or crisis where city utilities are unable to function or become unavailable.

Contra Costa County selected the design-and-build team of Hensel Phelps Construction of Irvine, Calif., to complete the project. Dreyfuss + Blackford Architecture, with offices in Sacramento and San Francisco, contributed to the design and oversaw the construction of the two-story building, which was co-designed by Ross Drulis Cusenbery Architecture of Sonoma and Emeryville, Calif.

The Schweiss custom-made hydraulic glass designer door is 23-feet, one-inch wide by 13-feet, 9 inches tall. It’s equipped with electric photo eye sensors, a door-base safety edge and a hydraulic back-up system in case of a power outage. The hydraulic pump was tucked away in an out-of-the-way location, about 30 feet from the door. A decorative grid work canopy extends outward and above the door, giving a unique reflection off the glass door and sidewalk below.

The new essential-service facility houses the office of the County Sheriff and Command staff. A state-of-the-art Emergency Situation Room within the EOC is equipped with the highest level of communication technology. Within the building is a public training and lecture hall with amenities to support media briefings in times of emergency operations and community events. The building has been designed to achieve LEED Gold certification with a score of 62 points, with additional points still pending.

“One structural aspect unique to this building is we used the ConX Tech Chassis-based Modular® building system,” says Julian Andrade, architect and project manager at Dreyfuss + Blackford. “It has a bolted collar system for the structural bracing inside the building, so there are no chevrons or sheer walls. It’s an all-in-one-piece integrated system that doesn’t require additional X-bracing. Using ConX probably knocked off a couple months from the schedule. It was a really fast project and we had a great team to work with.

Jim Robinson of Arktos Inc., of Castro Valley, Calif., placed the order for the hydraulic door. “The hydraulic door is basically used by the sheriff’s office,” he says. “That particular room is designed for the multi-media to set up their camera on an adjoining patio in case of a disaster.”

Arktos is part of the Security System Services Industry, which sells, installs and services door gate and barrier products that help customers protect their physical perimeters and control access to these areas.

“We understand hydraulics because we do a lot of hydraulics,” Robinson says. “The Schweiss door is a well-designed and impressive door that’s thought through and it looks great.”

Andrade says the building is a huge upgrade from where the county was before and Dreyfuss + Blackford really enjoyed working with the client and Hensel Phelps on the project.

“The county is very pleased with the building and the door,” Andrade says. “There wasn’t a whole lot for us to do on our end for it except to provide supports for the door. The lecture hall has a retractable stage on one end that slides into a vertical position that becomes integrated into the wall. The hydraulic door on the other end opens to a courtyard on the exterior. It seats 160 inside and an additional 140 people outside. There’s a press area outside for trucks to hook up; it could be used for award ceremonies, training purposes, interaction with the public … it’s kind of a big multi-purpose room.”

Schweiss Doors is the premier manufacturer of hydraulic and bifold liftstrap doors. Doors are custom made to any size for any type of new or existing building for architects and builders determined to do amazing things with their buildings, including the doors. Schweiss also offers a cable to liftstrap conversion package. For more information, visit

Design-Build Team: Hensel Phelps Construction, Irvine, Calif.; Dreyfuss + Blackford Architecture, Sacramento/San Francisco; Ross Drulis Cusenbery Architecture, Sonoma/Emeryville, Calif.

Completion Date: August 2019

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