Beagle Brigade gets a new, environmentally friendly boot camp
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Detector Dog Training Center, which trains dogs and their handlers to sniff out contraband items at airports, shipping ports and border crossings, has a new environmentally friendly home. The recently constructed 17-acre campus in Newnan, Ga., has earned the Washington-based U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy & Environment (LEED) Gold Certification for energy efficiency.
The new campus is much larger than its predecessors in Florida and Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, where the program originated in 1986. The new center can accommodate up to 100 dogs, primarily beagles rescued from shelters whose friendly disposition, small size and acute sense of smell make them ideal for inspecting airport luggage conveyors and carousels, post office sorting belts, vehicles at border checkpoints and warehouses. The dogs and handlers that pass the 10- to 13-week training program join the Beagle Brigade teams operated by the USDA’s Animal & Plant Inspection Services, and are assigned to stations across the country and, in some cases, overseas.
Tucker, Ga.-based builder Rooker built the complex, which is leased for 20 years to USDA. To qualify for LEED Gold Certification, the project demonstrated environmentally friendly site development, water conservation, construction waste recycling and energy-efficient metal building systems construction. An Indoor Air Quality Management Plan controlled airborne contamination during construction and facilitated the buildings’ flush-out before occupancy. More than 470 tons of construction waste were diverted from landfills, and 64 percent of the installed materials manufactured and sourced from within a 500-mile radius of the campus contain a cumulative recycled content of 31 percent.