Best Project Higher Education/Research: GE Aviation EPISCENTER at University of Dayton
A cornerstone of continued regional revitalization, University of Dayton's Electrical Power Integrated Systems Research and Development Center—or EPISCenter—simulates and tests enhanced power starter/generation, conversion and distribution technologies for civil and military applications, a mission that is unique among research centers.
The $41.8-million facility, sited on an eight-acre brownfield, includes a four-story, 51,000-sq-ft administrative wing and a 91,430-sq-ft, high-bay electrical power lab. The traditional forms and materials, including gabled roof, stone accents and brick facade, belie the high-tech functions within.
When fully operational, the facility pulls more power than University of Dayton, the result of extensive cooling and electrical requirements.
Extensive amounts of 6-in. to 8-in. conduit extending from a 5,000-sq-ft electrical room to six equipment test cells precluded the use of walls and columns to fully distribute it. The electrical contractor instead elected to horizontally route 80% of the conduit under concrete slabs prior to pours, an approach that saved both time and money.
To further expedite work, team members elected to prefabricate EPISCenter's 6,500-sq-ft mechanical room in a Cincinnati warehouse, where crews assembled and tested each component, including chillers, pumps, boilers, motor control centers, cooling towers, plate heat exchangers, expansion tanks, electrical gear and an 8,000-gallon sump tank for the cooling towers.
Fifteen semi-tractors transported components to the site, where riggers conveyed them up a temporary ramp and through a wall opening. Due to their size, components were transported and set in order, from back to front. All pieces were delivered, set and connected in two days, saving more than four months of onsite welding and installation.
Prior to construction, crews created a full-size mock-up of interior lab cells to test equipment and orient both the owner and end-users.
The Ohio Economic Development Association named EPISCenter the state's top economic development project of the year.
GE Aviation EPISCENTER at University of Dayton, Dayton, Ohio