Vol69-09 September 2019

Big things are happening at SMECO’s Leonardtown facility

If you have been by SMECO’s Leonardtown office recently, you may have noticed some changes. In July, contractors began to use heavy equipment to do earthwork and install the site utility infrastructure in preparation for constructing SMECO’s new Southern Region facility. The new sustainable facility in Leonardtown will support the continued modernization of business operations, while improving customer service, reliability, the employee workplace environment, and the cooperative’s presence in the community.

Why is SMECO building the new facility?

SMECO uses its Leonardtown office as a failover location in the event of an emergency. The existing building, which is 40 years old, is outdated and inadequate for today’s operational needs.

The new facility will:

  • Provide improved accommodations for computer systems and emergency staffing.
  • Operations Center
  • Serve as a back-up operations center with state of the art computer technology. The facility will provide a fully redundant operations center that will support monitoring and operating the electric system in an emergency event.
  • Provide enhanced security features.
  • Assist the cooperative in maintaining compliance with the regulatory agencies which govern our business.

The new facility will be built on SMECO’s property on Hollywood Road between the existing SMECO office and Leonard’s Grant Parkway.

Employee in server room

Construction is budgeted from the same funds that cover the costs of building, operating, and maintaining the electric system, including employees, facilities, vehicles, power lines, poles, substations, tree trimming, and all that goes into keeping the power flowing.

How will construction impact members?

SMECO is taking every step to minimize impact to our members.

  • The existing Leonardtown office will continue operating throughout construction.
  • SMECO members will be able to continue paying their electric bill on site.
  • The new facility will not create any additional everyday traffic.
  • The number of employees who regularly report to the Leonardtown office will remain stable. The number of employees working in the Southern Region facility is not expected to change substantially in the next 20 years.
  • The new facility will have electric vehicle charging stations installed for use by both members and employees.
Rendering of new facility

When will the new building be complete and what will happen to the current building?

Rendering of new facility

Construction started in the summer of 2019. Once the new building is complete, SMECO’s contractors will remove the existing building and perform additional site work. All construction is scheduled to be complete by summer, 2021.

Scheibel Construction—a fourth-generation, local, family-owned business—is managing the construction of the project. SMECO is planning the construction of the new facility in accordance with LEED standards in order to achieve an environmentally responsible and resource-efficient building throughout its life-cycle: from siting and design, to construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and demolition. The project goal is to obtain a LEED silver rating.

Construction

SMECO is utilizing the integrated project delivery approach in which the owner, designers, and construction contractor collaborate throughout the project to optimize results, reduce waste, and increase the overall project value. Lawrence Abell & Associates, located in La Plata, has been leading the design efforts and has leveraged pre-construction services from Scheibel Construction throughout the design process. Lawrence Abell & Associates will continue to support the project throughout construction.

Timeline: Summer 2019, construction will begin. New Construction to be completed by early 2021. Early 2021, Existing building to be removed, additional site work to be performed. Summer 2021, project to be completed.