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Gainesville Regional Utilities Eastside Operations Center

Gainesville Regional Utilities Eastside Operations Center

Gainesville Regional Utilities

    Project Type:

    CM at Risk

    Operation Centers

    Services Provided:


    Land Development

    Structural Engineering

    Transportation Engineering

Location: Gainesville, FL

Project Status: Completed

Client Description:

Bentley provided architectural, civil and structural design services for a new operations campus totaling 222,172 sf for Gainesville Regional Utilities. Civil Engineering services included master site planning, grading, environmental engineering, utility design, pavement and parking design, stormwater management and permitting. Bentley provided design, plans preparation and permitting for a gravity sewer collection system.

Gainesville Regional Utilities hired Bentley to develop the property in an efficient, economical and environmentally responsible manner that is compatible with the operations of that facility.  The proposed development was planned to relocate several business units from the current downtown Gainesville location where they had been located for nearly the life of the company to a more compatible site close to current and projected growth areas. Bentley’s site development takes into consideration the known site conditions, a program matrix of required spaces generated through meetings with GRU stakeholders and additional input from meetings with GRU staff.

The site for the entire GRU Campus, a total of 9 buildings, is 117-acres bordered by a large tract of land protected by a preservation trust. To bring order to this vast amount of natural land, the site is organized into three distinct regions surrounding a large wetland centering the site. The North end of the site has the largest area and serves as the operations yard with several hundred service vehicles, shops, staging and storage areas. The Central part of the site contains offices, a training building and practice fields, and shaded parking areas permeated by wetland ponds and open spaces. The South end of the site is isolated by wetlands and contains a secure and hardened Data Center housing the Systems Control Center for GRU

GRU expressed a desire to separate the public and employee vehicles from movement of GRU company vehicles.  This is especially important during times of the day when employees are arriving and departing work as large numbers of vehicles would be crossing paths leaving and arriving.  Bentley’s site plan allows Public/Employee vehicles arrival to the site through the main public gate manned by security officials.  This is also where guests to the site are directed to their destination.  They proceed to their workplaces along a curved circulation road that encircles the wetland and then through a direct system of access roads and parking lots situated directly adjacent their building.

Building 1: GRU Communications – 42, 075 sf.; Building 2: Electric Transmission & Distribution – 42,075 sf.; Building 3: Water & Wastewater- 42, 075 sf.; and Building 4: Cooling Plant – 3,679 sf. house all of the various utility functions for GRU: electric, substation, relay, gas & electric measurement, fiber optic communications, water and wastewater which all require direct access to the equipment yard. Their trucks need to access the storage and staging areas of the building at all times during the day. Many building shapes were tested for functionality. The importance of a linear design emerged as this was the best way to route traffic in and out. This results in a 900 foot long depot with spaces where the crews can meet, plan, stage and depart simultaneously and get to work.

Adjacent to the storage and staging areas are workshops, followed by the circulation core and offices. Our design takes into consideration a separation of the public spaces from operation intense portions of the buildings. The two functions are physically separated by a circulation corridor that is also a light well and view corridor. The layering of the building functions results in a relatively short distance from the parking areas, through the offices, shops and stores areas to the equipment yard. Each building has a core containing toilets and showers, break areas and a ready room for planning and coordinating construction activities

Building 5: Materials & Stores – 47,738 sf. The Materials and Stores building is designed to combine the just in time delivery method of utility construction materials and a percentage of long term/ long lead items required for reliability into as small a footprint as possible.  Receiving and inventory control occurs to the south, there are two recessed truck docks with levelers, roll off protection, truck lights, etc., and a hand cart delivery area all adjacent to a receiving and inventory check in space.  Distribution is handled from the east and west end distribution docks; Electrical on one side and Water/Wastewater on the other.  They will use parcel carts to deliver materials to the truck crews and limit congestion at the distribution docks. The central part of the building houses palletized items in high-bay rack storage and mezzanines house long-term items and electronics.  The north end of the building connects to a five acre lay down yard.  The building serves to manage the flow of materials in and out of the warehouse and is equipped with systems including inventory scanners, security cameras and access control.

Building 6: Apparatus Shops – 5,331 sf. The Apparatus shop is the central test and repair shop for all of the GRU’s metering equipment.  New and existing electric transformers, gas and water flow meters are tested and refurbished in this shop including high voltage transformer load testing, requiring a blast resistant test booth and other safety screening.  Transformer oil is transferred to a large storage tank for resale and tainted transformers are handled as hazardous materials according to applicable laws.  An overhead rail crane is used in this building to move equipment through the processes.  This building also contains a machine shop, tool repair shop, electrical safety goods test and calibration lab and a paint booth.

Building 7: Safety & Training – 17,307 sf.  The Safety and Training building is designed to remove employees from their daily workstations during safety training.  It is also the most predominate building on campus and directly adjacent to the main gate.  It serves as a multi-purpose facility including offices for full-time training staff.  Three large training rooms with audio visual capability combine to make one large meeting space (gymnasium dimensions) to conduct skills training, CPR, fitness training and journeyman courses.  Also housed in the building is a physical fitness/ wellness center, locker rooms, and a café and food prep area. It is designed to serve as an emergency operations center during storm response events with a hardened structure and redundant systems.  The building will contain, feed and shelter assessment teams during and after the storm for rapid response.

Building 8: Control Center -21,892 sf. The Control Center is the most highly reliable facility on campus, hardened for hurricane and tornado resistance.  It houses offices, technical shops, and a 24/7/365 dispatch and control center with an ergonomic and immersive HUD projection system to manage the utility, including generation, transmission and distribution of the electrical grid in and around the city.  The building also houses a mirror IT and computing site for the utility and has redundant electrical and HVAC systems for mission critical aspects of the computing system.  This building houses an air-cooled chilled water plant redundant to the water cooled chiller on their north campus and the two work in tandem to reduce overall cooling cost and improve reliability.  The electrical system is fed from two separate primary feeds with protected switchgear, UPS and an enclosed generator capable of providing full back up power through the anticipated storm period.

Building 9: Comprised of four ancillary structures totaling 28,620 sf. : – Truck Shed, 18,000 sf.; Guard House, 198 sf.; Field Training Building, 672 sf.; Fueling Station, 9,750 sf.

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