In early 2010, just off the Woodall Rodgers Freeway near the Arts District in downtown Dallas, an eight-story, 300,000-square-foot office complex sat lifeless in the shade of the iconic Fountain Place Tower. Comprising two separate structures built in 1978 and 1992, the site had an unassuming white concrete shell and inset windows that formed a sturdy, grid-like exterior. The offices had once been occupied by the Central and South West Corporation, but it had gone unused since 2007—until Oncor Electric Delivery Company, LLC needed a new headquarters. The growing company was getting cramped in its nearby Energy Plaza building, so it asked Prim Construction to oversee a renovation of the empty complex.
Prim Construction, a Fort Worth, Texas-based construction company founded in 2007, already had a history with Oncor when it signed on to renovate the new headquarters. “In 2009, we successfully bid on a project with Oncor, performing a renovation of some of their existing utilized space,” COO Trent Prim says, “and since then we’ve become one of Oncor’s preferred contractors.”
The building firm was to begin renovations at Woodall Rodgers in July 2010, and though the complex’s interior had been vacant for roughly three years, its exterior was still in presentable condition, thus necessitating minimal refurbishment procedures except for an overhaul of the plumbing. The primary challenge would be upgrading the complex for LEED Silver certification, an effort Prim intended to take on jointly with JE Dunn Construction Company, who partnered with Prim on the project bid.
Oncor is the largest electricity delivery business in Texas and serves 7.5 million customers throughout the state, so building to LEED specifications not only set a precedent for the company; it also helped set one for its users. “To attain LEED certification for this project, we primarily utilized as much of the existing material as we could,” Prim says. “However, much of the LEED credits came from the lighting and mechanical systems in the building.”
Prim Construction introduced window films, LED lighting, and carpeted tiles throughout the building to conserve energy, soften the acoustics, and modernize the interior aesthetic of the structure. “We really put a lot of thought and energy into what we could do to make this building as energy-efficient as possible,” Prim says. The renovation also updated the electrical and fire alarm systems.
Aside from working within tight time constraints to deliver the project, the greatest challenge Prim Construction encountered was the repair of the plumbing. Much of the piping had been unused and unmaintained for as long as the structure had been vacant, so the construction team had to oversee extensive replacements.
“The Woodall Rodgers building itself is sitting on a very limited site,” Prim says. “We utilized the adjacent parking lots to hoist materials to the roof. [And], Oncor has recently added solar panels to the rooftop.”
The renovation concluded with LEED Silver certification in August 2011. The finished complex is one of Prim Construction’s largest projects, and it’s thus a point a pride in the firm’s portfolio. “We enjoy working on these larger buildings,” Prim says, “and this building really sets a standard for how we’re moving forward as a company.” ABQ