Madison Water Utility Campus Project Wins WI AWWA’s Project of the Year!

September 13, 2019


5 people pose for photo with WIAWWA award
From left to right: Rich Lundeen, Stacey Keller, Al Larson (Madison Water Utility), Kent Falligant, and Anne Anderson

Mead & Hunt’s Madison Water Utility Campus Project has won the Wisconsin American Water Works Association’s (WI AWWA) 2019 Project of the Year Award.

The Madison Water Operations Center Facility Campus has been a part of the Marquette neighborhood for more than 85 years. When Mead & Hunt started this project, the design team was keenly aware of the need for seamless integration within the neighborhood, as well as the need for community outreach. Because this was a public project, the team was ready to bring together ideas from numerous stakeholders. Safety, urban renewal, and sustainability arose as key goals for this comprehensive, 5-year campus project so that the Water Utility’s service and presence could continue for the next 50 years.

The projects began with a thorough Master Plan process where numerous stakeholders, ranging from the alders, neighborhood associations, and the individual employees, were all able to provide input. The final plan to reuse the existing building sites at Paterson and Main incorporated the Water Utility’s commitment to fiscal responsibility and being a good steward of the neighborhood. This process was highlighted by ACEC Wisconsin. This led to two major capital-budget construction projects: The Operations Center Building Project and the Material Storage and Vehicle Storage Renovations Project.

Display board showing Madison Water Utility projectThe existing 1920s-era Operations Facility was undersized, inefficient, and in poor condition. The project comprised a complete renovation of the existing building, with some building removals and a large new addition. The new design integrated several enhanced, sustainable measures, including natural daylighting, in-floor radiant heat, enhanced ventilation features, and low-flow plumbing fixtures. This more efficient space means that maintenance tasks that used to take days and open workers up to hazards can now be safely completed in a few short hours.

The Operations Center Building project previously won multiple awards for its innovative design, including an ACEC WI State Finalist Award for the complex building design, an ACEC WI Best in State and ACEC National Finalist Award for the project’s storm water management, and an ABC award for the Operations Center project as a whole.

The second construction project’s goal was to provide an improved aesthetic for an industrial, material storage yard in an up-and-coming urban neighborhood. A material storage building was constructed, along with site enhancements for concrete pavement, an architectural fence, and landscaping. Interior renovations of the Vehicle Storage Building improved worker efficiencies. The overall design of the building and site reflect the development of the neighborhood while maintaining the work functions of the department.

Adding to the complexity, the Madison Water Utility Operations Center Campus is located in an area with multiple site constraints, adverse soil conditions, and environmental considerations. This necessitated unconventional stormwater strategies. Underground stormwater treatment was the primary solution. However, the design team went above and beyond standard requirements to reduce stormwater volume by providing a rooftop garden on the Operations Center and a rooftop rainwater harvesting system at the Vehicle Storage Building, which uses captured rainwater to wash the vehicles. This comprehensive approach is an essential step in the cleanup of our waterways and lakes, a key goal of the Water Utility.

The Madison Water Utility’s Operations Center is now a model for urban renewal, showing how industrial working environments can enhance a neighborhood. By increasing safety, improving efficiencies, and enhancing the aesthetic of the facility, the Water Utility staff are more productive and no longer endure the hardships caused by the previous inadequate building. The efforts toward sustainability also contribute to a greener community while achieving the City of Madison and the Water Utility’s goal to be fiscally responsible.