Construction of new EPWater headquarters begins

Construction of new EPWater headquarters begins
Posted on 01/19/2023
Architectural rendering of the new EPWater headquarters

Construction of EPWater’s new administration campus will soon be underway.  The PSB recently approved the first phase of the project, consisting of the new parking facility expected to be completed in August 2023.

After the parking structure is completed, construction of the new office building will begin, with completion expected by the end of 2024.

“The Board and EPWater determined that we needed to create a building that represented the values of the community, our services and our current and future employees,” said EPWater Chief Technical Officer Irazema Rojas. “The new building will highlight our water conservation efforts as well as water and stormwater management, while providing a modern and interactive environment that promotes maximum utilization of spaces.”

Building the future of EPWater

Interior of new headquartersThe current Hawkins administration building was originally designed as a bank in 1979, and EPWater moved to the location in 1991. In the last decade, an increasing number of key building systems (such as air conditioning, plumbing, and elevators) required replacement, overhaul or burdensome maintenance. An assessment examined renovation options and revealed that the building is not sufficient to accommodate current technology and space needs much less those anticipated for the future.

EPWater spent several years looking at options downtown. The utility issued multiple requests for proposal, but submissions did not meet the desired criteria. The absence of convenient parking for employees was a common problem.

“Having the building easily accessible in the geographic center of the city was also important for us to better serve our customers and our many facilities,” said Rojas.

In the new building, the PSB boardroom will be twice the size, enabling more public participation for Board meetings and other events, and it will be located on the more accessible first floor. While the current building originally accommodated about 150 staff members, and the utility now has almost 200 squeezed into every space available, the new building will accommodate 290 employees.

EPWater enlisted the help of some of the best talent in architecture, engineering and landscaping to design the new campus, which will boast multi-functional features throughout, said EPWater Architect Laura Foster. “We’ve been very fortunate to have attracted this top-notch team to collaborate on every aspect of the development of the campus,” Foster said.

Lake Flato, along with El Paso architecture firm Exigo and Arup Engineers, took the lead on design. They incorporated priorities from several rounds of visioning sessions with EPWater employees with functionality and efficiency being top of mind.

Integrating natural elements into design

The new campus will also undergo a landscape facelift at the hands of landscape architect Christy Ten Eyck, who was behind the transformation of the University of Texas at El Paso campus. Ten Eyck prioritized creative stormwater capture, native plant life and many other references to El Paso’s mountainous terrain into the landscape design surrounding the new building.

“It’s important for EPWater to be a model for sustainable and smart infrastructure, and that is reflected in this new campus,” Foster said.

Growing pains

New EPWater headquartersThe new building and parking structure will be built while employees are working in the current building. The old building will be demolished once the new building is complete.

During construction, the public should be aware of heavy machinery and construction equipment making its way in and around the Hawkins location.

Employees will still be able to use the main parking lot in front of the building, but the number of spaces decreased to accommodate construction. As a result, two rows of parking on utility-owned land near the Panda Express and a portion of the Luby's lot will also be reserved for employee parking.

“EPWater and the PSB began planning for this project in 2017, with the same diligence and ingenuity we apply to planning our infrastructure projects,” said Foster. “We are thrilled to begin this project and build a facility that our employees and community will be proud of.”

El Paso Water | All Rights Reserved | Powered by CivicLive | © PowerSchool Corporation