Renovations and additions to the Delta Dental of Michigan Headquarters are intended to harmonize not only with the existing architecture but with the surrounding environment as well.

Photo Courtesy of Fred Golden
The environmentally minded Delta Dental of Michigan Headquarters in Okemas, Mich., incorporates many landscaping enhancements.
Photo Courtesy of Fred Golden
A new rounded glass entry incorporates overlapping shapes and a 20-ft-tall structured-glass curtain wall.

Though its acreage is sufficiently spacious to accommodate a larger campus, Delta opted to minimize its impact on its surroundings by reusing the existing shell of its 180,000-sq-ft headquarters and limiting new construction to an 82,500-sq-ft addition and 22,500-sq-ft data center.

Delta also elected to expand an onsite retention basin that supports area drainage and a variety of wildlife, an undertaking that required safe removal of wildlife prior to draining and excavating the pond.

As a result of cleaner water and landscaping enhancements, including the introduction of rocky basking structures, the wildlife population on the site has since doubled.

Several other environmental initiatives were implemented during construction of the addition, including installation of green roofing on numerous terraces.

To convert the existing facility from a "dark brick building" to a "noticeable, positive presence," according to the project team, crews removed and replaced its facade after erecting temporary enclosures inside. A new rounded glass entry incorporates overlapping shapes, and a 20-ft-tall structured-glass curtain wall floods interior spaces with natural light.

To maintain operations during construction, owner and contractor mapped out a comprehensive plan to shift 400 employees to other campus locations following construction of the new office building.

Work on the data center, including installation of cable trenches for 3,000 lineal ft of fiber optic lines, was performed without disruption to claims processing, document storage, record retention and online services, a feat requiring extensive logistical planning.

Made of reinforced-concrete roof and walls, the data center is designed to withstand an F2 tornado. It is said to be the largest single storage facility for dental records in the world.

Delta Dental of Michigan Headquarters Expansion and Renovation, Okemos, Mich. Key Players

Owner: Delta Dental of Michigan, Okemos, Mich.

General Contractor: Walbridge, Detroit

Architect: Albert Kahn Assoc. Inc., Detroit

Submitted by: Walbridge