Ravalli Electric Cooperative

Merit Award Winner

Design Team Member(s)
Arian Bloomfield, Consultant – Electrical Engineer, Morrison Mairle IncTom Coburn, Consultant – Mechanical Engineer, Morrison Maierle, Inc.Mark Quinn, Consultant – Contractor, Western Interstate, Inc.Jason Rice, Consultant – Civil Engineer, Territorial Landwords INCMatt Suek, Consultant – Civil Engineer, Territorial Landwords INCMaria Chesnut, Consultant – Structural Engineer, Morrison Maierle, Inc.Eric webber, Consultant – Mechanical Engineer, Morrison Maierle, Inc.Mark Stelling, Architecture Team – Project Architect, MMW Architects
Project Description:
The Ravalli Electric Cooperative provides power to the majority of the Bitterroot Valley, spanning from the south end of Lolo to the Idaho border. This region is experiencing a population boom and with that comes the need for the co-op to expand its services. This new 58,000 square foot dispatch and operations facility provides the organization with functional efficiency and space for growth in a new location central to their service region. A mix of wood framed and pre-fabricated metal buildings, the compound settles comfortably into its rural valley setting. Gable roof forms were incorporated to tie into the pastoral landscape, local design aesthetic, and surrounding mountains. These simple forms, nicknamed ‘the huts,’ help to organize the programmatic elements, break down the exterior volume, and introduce different types of daylighting effects into the interiors. The crisp minimal detailing contributes to a contemporary aesthetic that ties in with the technical nature of the building, yet the feeling is still northwest and rural. The public entry and adjacent conference room take on a welcoming lodge-like feel with vaulted wood ceilings, large windows, and natural stone accents. The orientation of the facility is north-south to take advantage of the views to the Bitterroot mountains to the west. A broad range of departments and functions create a large diversity within the design. Yet all functions are integrally linked and organized to maximize operations efficiency. The public spaces such as entry and training rooms are on the south end. The finance and engineering departments occupy the center of the building. While the linemen’s dispatch room, parts warehouse, vehicle bays, and wash bay are on the north end of the complex. A 6.2 acre staging yard for storing poles and equipment is located behind the vehicle bays. Combining quality public spaces, generous offices, and highly optimized vehicle bays the new co-op provides an efficient workflow and space for the cooperative’s operations to continue to grow.

Program Requirements:
Building Elements Lobby & Public Restrooms 1,632 s.f. Training Room 2,919 s.f. Conference Room & Storage 835 s.f. Finance Offices 4,477 s.f. Exercise Room 380 s.f. Engineering Offices 7,155 s.f. Linemen’s Dispatch Area 1,709 s.f. Warehouse and Vehicle Bays 30,958 s.f. Out Buildings: Wash Bay 4,458 s.f. Cold Storage Building 5,921 s.f. Total Gross Building Area: 58,264 s.f. Site Elements Staging Yard 6.2 acres Retention Pond 6.4 acres Parking 0.7 acres (73 spaces) Overall Site Area 52.5 acres

Sustainability Goals:
• All offices and corridors have access to daylight • Energy efficient heating and cooling system using Heat pumps and hydronic system • Prefabricated building components used where possible • PV Array at the entrance canopy ties in with the company mission • The primary building is run on hydronic VRF systems through electric boilers and a cooling tower. Heat pumps give isolated control to each office and large warehouse spaces have radiant slabs. • The landscaping incorporates natural swales and retention ponds for on site surface water management.

Design Solutions:
• By combining traditional forms and rustic materials with contemporary detailing, a comfortable balance between the rural setting and technical nature of the facility was achieved. • The linear single story layout was designed for day-to-day operational efficiency and provides a clear delineation between front of house and back of house. • Gabled ‘hut’ forms bring light into the corridors and informal gathering areas • Oversized historic linemen photograph in the conference room serves as a graphic reminder of the co-op’s mission.

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