With server operations set to demand immense quantities of energy, the new Temple Data Center drew upon the efficiency of an integrated project approach to speed into the market in Texas.
Rowan Green Data LLC knew it would need to focus on providing reliability, resilience and — most of all — efficiency when building a new data center facility in Texas.
Enter the EPC team from Burns & McDonnell.
“We were able to get this to market in the shortest amount of time possible,” says Mike Zakar, engineer-procure-construct (EPC) project manager for Burns & McDonnell. “That was absolutely key.”
The Temple Data Center, a more than $100 million project completed in the summer of 2023, banked on the benefits of EPC project delivery to meet Rowan’s needs.
Supporting it all is the new 150,000-square-foot center in Temple, Texas.
The U-shaped building stands on 1,200 concrete piers on 20 acres of former farmland at the eastern edge of Temple, about 65 miles northeast of the state capital of Austin. The center is strategically located in the slim shadow of a 138-kV electrical transmission line, optimal for receiving necessary power.
The Burns & McDonnell team added a 138-34-kV substation at the edge of the property to step the power down, and then ran lines to send the energy into a collection of 18 lineups of switchgear, 100 transformers and 100 switchboards. The electrical system feeds into the building.
Aligning the transformers, switchboards and switchgear in 11 separate loops allows for isolation should an equipment issue arise. This gives on-site operators the opportunity to isolate a problem and quickly restore the system. Such isolating loops mean the entire facility doesn’t need to shut down, securing critically important resilience.
The EPC project delivery approach prevailed in a challenging situation. Design and construction of the project began less than a year into the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic that strangled supply chains and stretched the schedules of businesses and projects. But by streamlining communications and allowing maximum flexibility as market and design conditions changed, the integrated approach in Temple started strong and kept moving forward.
Burns & McDonnell entered the field just 10 days after the contract was signed. The team built the facility in phases, allowing Rowan’s tenant to install and test its equipment as each additional section of the center was completed.
“We were able to get to the field quicker, bring the solution to the client quicker, and progressively build the project,” Zakar says.
The facility has the potential to draw as much as 185 megawatts of power.
The project required significant coordination, with multiple contract crews of various disciplines working simultaneously to maximize progress. During peak construction, the team had more than 190 contractors on-site.
By the end, the EPC team had worked more than 200,000 hours to deliver a reliable and efficient project.
Zakar, who’s been in the business for 30 years, expects the facility to provide positive returns for years to come.
“It’s a total solution,” Zakar says.