Coachella Valley Water District’s (CVWD) new Critical Support Services (CSS) building has received a national award recognizing its design.
The CSS Building was one of three projects nationwide receiving the National Award of Merit in the water/wastewater category from the Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA). The project is now a finalist in the same category for the National Award of Excellence.
“This award is an honor and reflects the commitment to excellence of the team that designed and built this facility, which is reflective of how well CVWD serves our community,” said Jim Barrett, General Manager of CVWD.
DBIA states that the award “showcases not only an extraordinary project, but also how the project team went well above and beyond achieving cost, schedule and quality goals, demonstrating unique applications of design-build best practices
In addition to CVWD, the award recognizes the work of design-build firm, Swinerton, architect Ferguson Pape Baldwin Architects, Engineer SWS Engineering Inc. and specialty contractors McParlane & Associates.
The CSS Building, the newest building on the CVWD Palm Desert campus, houses four operation centers to ensure CVWD will always be able to provide reliable water service to customers:
• Water Quality Laboratory that may perform up to 1,700 tests per month to monitor drinking water quality
• SCADA Control Room to gather data, monitor status, and remotely operate CVWD’s facilities
• Emergency Operations Center that is also used as a technology training room
• Information Systems server/radio room and related facilities
In case of a catastrophic event, CVWD must keep water flowing for emergency needs such as firefighting and hospitals. The Critical Support Services Building provides better reliability and security to meet those needs. It is designed and structured to remain operational after a major earthquake and has redundant power backups. The 23,385-square foot, two-story structure sits between the Operations and Steve Robbins Administration buildings. Design of the new building so closely matches that of its two neighbors it appears the three were built at the same time.
The Board of Directors approved construction of the $14 million building after a 2013 study of buildings on the Coachella campus showed that they may not be functional after a major earthquake due to their design and high potential for soil liquefaction. Rehabilitation would have been too costly and there was no practical way to mitigate the soil concerns. The Critical Support Services Building broke ground in January 2018. It was substantially completed in December 2018 and CVWD Environmental Services and Information Systems staff moved into the building in February 2019.
On their website recognizing the award finalists, DBIA writes, “The design-build process allowed the team to serve the District’s two visions. The building is a technologically advanced facility for cutting-edge research and emergency deployment, while also serving the community with its desert-inspired architecture and environmentally conscious features.
One key challenge was finding an inventive solution for the design and construction of the SCADA Control Room. It needed to be in a location where personnel could be in close proximity, and the eventual placement of the room provided safety from external threats while making for easy exits for personnel. Design-build allows teams to achieve more than one vision, and nowhere is this best exemplified than in the Coachella Valley Water District.”
For the complete list of the DBIA award winners with descriptions of the projects and photos, visit https://dbia.org/awards/project-team-awards/2020
The Coachella Valley Water District is a public agency governed by a five-member board of directors. The district provides domestic and irrigation water, agricultural drainage, wastewater treatment and reclamation services, regional storm water protection, groundwater management and water conservation. It serves approximately 108,000 residential and business customers across 1,000 square miles, located primarily in Riverside County, but also in portions of Imperial and San Diego counties.