Provo Power
Provo, Utah       
Best Project

Owner: Provo City
Lead Design Firm: VCBO Architecture
General Contractor: Layton Construction Co.
Civil Engineer: NV5 Inc.
Structural Engineer: Reaveley Engineers & Associates
MEP Engineer: Colvin Engineering Associates Inc.
Electrical Engineer: Electrical Consulting Engineers (ECE)
Landscape Architect: ArcSitio Design Inc.
Subcontractors: AK Masonry LLC; Geneva Rock Products Inc.; Gerdau Reinforcing Steel; KHI Mechanical Services; Muddy Boys Inc.; Noorda BEC Inc.; Owell Precast LLC (Olympus Precast LLC); Sunroc Corp.; Vinyl Industries LLC; Western Automatic Sprinkler Corp.; Western States Waterproofing LLC; Wilkinson Electric Inc.

Since 1940, Provo Power has provided electricity to the residents of the city.  It is the state’s largest municipally owned electric utility, and its old buildings needed to be replaced. 

Provo Power’s new 52,400-sq-ft campus is home to a department charged with maintaining more than 35,000 power meters, 380 miles of electrical distribution lines, 48 miles of high-voltage lines and 18 substation transformers. The campus includes an administrative office building, a warehouse, vehicle storage bays and parking.

The contractor and its demolition subcontractor first had to take down two iconic, 200-ft-tall smokestacks. They had some sentimental value, and initial talks focused on saving them. But ultimately, they were demolished because of concerns about seismic safety. 

The construction and demolition teams worked with local authorities, city officials and nearby neighborhoods to create a safe action plan for abatement of the stacks.  The demolition company, secured more than a year before, surveyed neighboring properties to determine any preexisting conditions and put a detailed plan in place, down to the minute, to keep the community informed about what to expect.  Scaffolding was built around the stacks, and plastic sheeting was placed to enable safe sandblasting of the paint while maintaining an acceptable decibel level during demolition.

Adding difficulty to the task, the stacks housed cell towers, and federal requirements mandated that they could be offline for only a short time. After the smokestacks came down, the team carefully cleaned the dust from surrounding neighborhoods.

Another critical challenge was avoiding Google Fiber’s main underground fiber-optic line, which provides internet and cable TV service to all of Provo. The problem: It was known to be in the vicinity, but its exact location was undetermined. A Google Fiber representative came on site every day to monitor excavation, and the project’s footings and foundation were completed with the line intact. 

Crews also installed solar panels on the covered parking canopies, facing three directions. They are used to teach the community about the proper orientation of solar panels for the best harvesting of power. The new facility has earned LEED Gold certification.

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