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Under Construction: Top Facility Projects of April 2024

Facilities Management Advisor’s “Under Construction” series highlights some of the latest, most interesting facility project announcements every month.

A Greener JFK Airport

In light of Earth Month, April had a bunch of clean energy project announcements. John F. Kennedy International Airport—which topped our inaugural installment of this series with a multibillion-dollar facelift in 2022—takes the top spot again after the major airport broke ground on New York state’s largest on-site solar-plus-storage project. Located in the airport’s long-term parking lot 9, the JFK solar carport will be erected as a canopy, providing the added benefit of covered parking for 3,000 vehicles.

Courtesy: Port Authority of NY and NJ

Organizations: Port Authority of New York and New Jersey; and New York Power Authority
Location: New York City
Type of project: New build
Size: Equal to 11 football fields (~1,100 yards)
Estimated cost: N/A
Developer: TotalEnergies
Status: Ground broken April 23
Expected completion: Phase 1 – March 2025; Phase 2 – April 2026

Interesting tidbit: With enough solar panels to cover 11 football fields, the solar carport will generate approximately 12 MW of on-site power, as well as include a 6 MW community solar facility to benefit low-income neighborhoods. The project will also include 7.5 MW of battery storage to reduce airport energy use during peak periods. Construction will adhere to the Port Authority’s goal of 30% participation by minority- and women-owned firms. Additional rooftop solar projects are planned at JFK airport.

Quote: Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton said, “Building New York’s largest solar carport at JFK significantly advances the Port Authority’s goal of reducing our agency’s carbon footprint to net zero while sharing the benefit of our historic investments at the airport with neighboring communities.”

More details available here.

Net-Zero Elementary School

The Town of Amherst, Mass., recently broke ground on its net-zero Fort River Elementary School. The facility will replace two schools—Wildwood and Fort River Elementary Schools—with one new three-story building on the Fort River site.

Credit: Dennis Vandal

Organization: Town of Amherst
Location: Amherst, Mass.
Type of project: New build
Size: 575-student capacity
Estimated cost: Up to $98.2 million
Design-build team: DiNisco Design Inc. and Anser Advisory Management LLC
Status: Ground broken March 28
Expected completion: September 2026

Interesting tidbit: With funding from the state, town, and utility incentives, the new school will be a net-zero building using ground-source heat pumps, solar photovoltaics, and energy-efficient design to meet 100% of its energy needs. The site will include space for outdoor learning and play, with creative, accessible playground equipment. The project will also restore community playing fields, provide basketball courts, trails, rain gardens, and more for residents of all ages.

Quote: Town Manager Paul Bockelman said the project “will be good for education, good for the environment, and save operating costs—both because we are combining two schools into one and because we are reducing our reliance on fossil fuels.”

More details available here.

Cleveland Cavs Training Facility

The NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers, Cleveland Clinic, and Bedrock Real Estate revealed the first official renderings of the Cleveland Clinic Global Peak Performance Center. Proposed as part of a $3.5 billion master plan along the Cuyahoga River, the center will span over 210,000 square feet and be one of the largest training facilities in the world. In addition to serving as the new home of the pro basketball team, the performance center will be open to the public.

Credit: Populous

Organizations: Cleveland Cavaliers, Cleveland Clinic, and Bedrock Real Estate 
Location: Cleveland
Type of project: New build
Size: +210,000 square feet
Estimated cost: N/A
Design team: Populous
Status: Renderings released March 26
Expected completion: N/A

Interesting tidbit: This latest partnership between the Cavs and Cleveland Clinic, the team’s official healthcare provider, aims to position the city as a global sports science and wellness destination. It will offer comprehensive care for athletes of all sports and levels and leverage high-tech testing and training equipment, including artificial intelligence to gain insights about human performance. The center will also translate these insights to populations beyond athletes, including medical and healthcare patients, first responders, and the military.

Quote: Cavs President of Basketball Operations Koby Altman said, “The vision and functionality of this state-of-the-art facility will be a generational game-changer for the Cleveland Cavaliers.”

More details available here.

All-Electric Columbia University Lab

Columbia University and architecture firm Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF) unveiled plans for New York City’s first purpose-built, all-electric academic research lab building. Designed for the university’s Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, the eight-story biomedical building will outperform emission limits set by New York City’s Local Law 97 and support Columbia University’s Plan 2030 greenhouse gas reduction goals.

Credit: RBG

Organization: Columbia University
Location: New York City
Type of project: New build
Size: Eight stories
Estimated cost: N/A
Design-build team: KPF and engineer AKF
Status: Announced April 3
Expected completion: N/A

Interesting tidbit: Because labs have greater ventilation requirements, they typically require more robust, energy-hungry systems. This new facility will use electric air source heat pumps and air-side energy recovery systems to reduce the total energy needed to condition the building. A high-performance façade will feature an optimized window-to-wall ratio below 50%, while strategic exterior shading and a system of louvers will help minimize solar heat gain and glare. Ultimately, the building is expected to perform 30% more efficiently than the ASHRAE 90.1 2010 energy standard.

Quote: KPF Director and Head of Sustainability Carlos Cerezo Davila said the project required a design “where the architecture and the mechanical systems work together in an integrated, energy-efficient whole, demonstrating that all building types—even the most complex—can be a part of a decarbonized built environment.”

More details available here.

Hurricane-Resilient Hospital

Health First, Gilbane Building Co., and other project partners broke ground on a new facility to replace the current Cape Canaveral Hospital, a nationally recognized healthcare system that first opened on Florida’s “Space Coast” region in 1962. The hospital will include 120 private inpatient beds, 25 emergency department rooms, and six operating rooms. The project will also include a new three-story medical office building.

Courtesy: Gilbane

Organization: Health First 
Location: Brevard County, Fla.
Type of project: New build
Size: 268,000 square-foot hospital; 92,000 square-foot medical office 
Estimated cost: At least $410 million
Design-build team: Gilbane, Lawrence Group, Concord Group, and BCER
Status: Ground broken March 22
Expected completion: End of 2026

Interesting tidbit: Due to its location on the Florida coast, the new hospital is designed to withstand a Category 4 hurricane. Continuation of care and the potential for evacuation will be evaluated for individual storms in consultation with state officials. The entire campus site will also be constructed 13 feet above sea level to withstand storm surges. The campus will be served by an on-site central energy plant, built to ensure continuous power function even during tropical storms and hurricanes.

Quote: Health First Board Chair Kent Smith said, “This new project has been in the works for a long time—and it truly speaks to Health First’s vision, mission, and strategy to set our community up for success today and beyond.”

More details available here.

Honorable Mentions

Do you have a major project announcement you’d like considered for the “Under Construction” series? Please contact Editor Joe Bebon at JBebon@BLR.com.

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