Closed Circuit

​By Eric Barendsen

Until recently, the Desert Southwest Maintenance crew at Glen Canyon Substation in Arizona was running out of space. It was a problem that needed to be solved, and it was not a new one.

Foreseeing a looming issue, DSW already started looking into the possibility of building a new warehouse for Glen Canyon Substation in 2017, as the facility lacked adequate office space and storage areas for heavy equipment, high-voltage equipment, poles and vehicles.

“The crews already had more bodies than desks for them, and with plans to hire more, it was a critical issue to fix,” said Electrical Engineer Kevin King-Titch.

Coincidentally, the Bureau of Reclamation had similar concerns of their own. Reclamation was also looking for a warehouse and office space solution, especially one that would prove sustainable and adaptable to their changing needs.

“The Colorado River Storage Project Management Center office works closely with the Reclamation team, and we attended one of their 10-year planning meetings where this was discussed,” said Organizational Approach to Markets Project Manager Amy Cutler.

Seeing the opportunity for a mutually beneficial partnership, CRSP MC staff reached out to Reclamation to see if the two organizations could identify a common solution.

“Within a month, we coordinated a meeting that started the planning process,” Cutler said.

A team of employees from CRSP MC, DSW and Headquarters worked together with Reclamation to review requirements and discuss possibilities.

They considered new land and building options, but ultimately the two organizations decided to remodel Reclamation’s 1960s-era warehouse, renovating it to provide more efficient and secure work and storage spaces—including laydown yards where tools and equipment can be kept between uses—to benefit staff from both Reclamation and WAPA.

The renovation will result in 34,000 square feet of shared space. Reclamation will get 22,000 square feet and WAPA will gain 12,000 square feet of improved workspaces and storage. This additional space offers significant benefits to both organizations.

The warehouse’s well-built interior offers ample natural light from two tiers of windows that line both sides of the structure. Numerous bays open up onto the surrounding yard that features 4.7 acres between the fences—more than enough space for WAPA and Reclamation to work side by side.

“In the yard, there is plenty of room for pole storage and covered parking, which includes slots for the heavy equipment,” King-Titch said. “The warehouse even has full-size rollup doors in many of the bays that will allow the crews to work on the vehicles and heavy equipment out of the elements.”

The office areas have been designed to allow for future growth opportunities, giving the crews space for expansion.

There is a financial benefit to this solution, as well: When the renovation is complete, the two organizations will avoid up to $7 million in costs when compared to new construction.

“The avoided cost is significant, and we also save a beautiful historic building,” Cutler added. “The remodeled space will be efficient, safe and convenient for both WAPA and Reclamation.”

This project supports Strategic Roadmap 2024’s critical pathway of Business, Technology and Organizational Excellence as well as Reclamation’s goal to comply with the guiding principles for sustainable federal buildings set forth in a 2015 executive order Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade.

The initiative also demonstrates the value of working directly with partners and sharing in the positive outcomes. 

Note: Barendsen is a public affairs specialist.

Remodeling a 1960s-era warehouse allowed WAPA and the

Bureau of Reclamation to both solve their space concerns

and save a historic building.

Remodeling a 1960s-era warehouse allowed WAPA and the

Bureau of Reclamation to both solve their space concerns

and save a historic building.

Last modified on March 7th, 2024