Data Collection Centers

Data Collection Centers

Location: Washington, D.C.; Jeffersonville, Ind.; Baltimore; Pomona, Calif.; Phoenix

Client: U.S. Census Bureau/Department of Commerce

For this series of four geographically separate but uniquely similar facilities, Burns & McDonnell, as the design-build subcontractor, was selected to provide all design-build and general contracting services to TRW Inc., Information Services Division. TRW had been selected by the Census Bureau/Department of Commerce (DOC) to acquire, build out, operate, manage and close out Data Capture Center facilities that would house and support the operations to capture data from approximately 116 million census forms.

Four locations selected by DOC were an existing 120,000-square-foot warehouse building at the Census Bureau facilities in Jeffersonville, Ind.; a 240,000-square-foot warehouse in Baltimore; a 250,000-square-foot section of a World War II defense facility in Pomona, Calif.; and a 260,000-square-foot section of an abandoned shopping center in Phoenix.

Each of these facilities was converted into a high-security, state-of-the-art data capturing center, with supporting staff offices, foodservice facilities, high-tech training areas, a self-contained computer operations center, conference areas, a separate security station and warehousing. All four projects were on an accelerated design/construction schedule from inception.

Initial work at the three older sites consisted of identifying and removing all asbestos containing material, all lead paint to a height of 10 feet and any other hazardous substance that was encountered.

Burns & McDonnell design-build personnel then conducted an extensive analysis of all parts of each facility to preserve and reuse as many features as possible, thereby conserving costs. At two of the three older abandoned facilities, parts of the mechanical and electrical systems were reused to minimize costs. At the third facility, it was found that not much could be salvaged, so the design effort concentrated on minimizing costs. A comprehensive phasing plan was developed and adjusted as field conditions dictated for each facility to allow design and construction to proceed in an orderly fashion.

During design and construction, significant modifications were made to the electrical requirements, office layouts and resulting cooling needs because of enhanced data storage requirements and changes in prototype data scanning equipment. As each equipment change was identified, Burns & McDonnell design and construction staff provided redesign and site implementation, negotiated changes with all subcontractors and as a result, kept all projects on the previous accelerated schedule.

Maintaining the accelerated project schedule proved challenging with the modifications driven by state-of-the-art computer equipment changes. Burns & McDonnell was able to mitigate schedule impacts by monitoring potential schedule-impacting changes, working closely with design and subcontractor team members to minimize impacts, and modifying activities to maintain the overall schedule.

Burns & McDonnell's design-build team achieved the following results:

  • Provided innovative and cost-effective design and construction solutions
  • Adaptive reuse of existing equipment allowed a 10 percent savings to client
  • Use of environmentally responsible products and practices provided for a "green" facility
  • Successful team partnering with client throughout project life
  • Completed on or ahead of schedule and within budget while on accelerated schedule