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Data Center Design

Former warehouse facility transformed into a data center for healthcare information management.
  • Walkway leading to the entrance of a one-story red brick office building - Gannett Fleming.

    The design team converted an existing 34,000-square-foot warehouse facility into a data center.

  • Data center room under construction with large equipment and a drop ceiling with open panels - Gannett Fleming.

    A raised access floor and drop ceiling provide air supply discharges and returns for the CRAC units.

  • Diagram of data center layout with colors indicating predicted air temperatures around equipment cabinets - Gannett Fleming.

    Computational fluid dynamics was used to predict the routing and temperature of air around equipment cabinets.

  • A series of large, electrical conduits moving upward from electrical equipment into the ceiling - Gannett Fleming.

    Distribution piping transports usable power from the electrical equipment room to the data center.

  • Gray mechanical and electrical equipment and piping sitting on concrete pads outside of a red brick building - Gannett Fleming.

    The project added a pumped condenser for each CRAC unit and two new pad mounted emergency generators.

Skae Power Solutions, LLC

Orangeburg, New York

Our Role
Architecture, Mechanical, Electrical, Structural, Civil/Site

34,000 sq. feet
Construction Cost
1 year 6 months
  • The redesigned 5,000-square-foot office area provides employees with efficient, modern work spaces
  • The new 10,000-square-foot data center is capable of supporting 500 kW of critical IT load   
  • New mechanical systems regulate temperature and humidity to protect data center equipment
  • The design plan allows for 15,000 square feet of data center space to be added in a future phase.

Skae Power Solutions turned to Gannett Fleming for help in converting an existing 34,000-square-foot, single-story warehouse and office facility into a data center for a healthcare information management company. To support the new high-tech equipment and data center personnel, the design team completely reconfigured interior spaces and overhauled the facility’s mechanical and electrical systems.

The first phase of the project created 5,000 square feet of new office space and a 10,000-square-foot temperature and humidity controlled data center with raised access flooring capable of supporting 500 kilowatt of critical IT load. The design plan also set aside a 15,000-square-foot area within the facility for a future second phase build-out of additional data center space with a planned critical IT load of 1 megawatt.

What We Did

Gannett Fleming architects and engineers conducted a full survey of the existing building to provide accurate as-built records and identify needed improvements. Architects recommended a complete gutting of interior spaces within the 1980s-era facility in order to rework the layout and add insulation along exterior walls to improve the building’s thermal envelope performance. The data center redesign was driven by a significant mechanical system change from an air-cooled chilled water system to a refrigerant based data center cooling system. By eliminating the chilled water system, the team was able to remove a large mechanical room, resize the data center, and re-organize the electrical support spaces. Plumbing design modifications included domestic hot and cold water, sanitary sewer, roof drainage, and natural gas systems. The existing fire protection system was modified to provide two wet-pipes, a dry-pipe, and pre-action risers.

New computer room air conditioning (CRAC) units monitor and control temperature and humidity to protect IT equipment. The team used computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to predict the temperature and routing of air as it enters and leaves the equipment cabinets to ensure the efficacy of the new cooling systems. Engineers designed new electrical switchboards and power distribution systems to supply the increased power required by the data center. Uninterruptable power systems, including a new generator, maintain data center operations in the event of a power outage.

Key Features

  • New electrical switchboards convert utility power into useable equipment power
  • Newly installed insulation along exterior walls increases the performance of the building’s thermal envelope
  • A raised floor in the data center room supplies cool air to the inlets of the IT equipment
  • CFD modeling predicts air flow and temperatures surrounding the IT equipment
  • Two new generators help maintain data center operations in the event of an electrical outage.

Similar Projects: Corporate/Industrial: Data Centers, Facilities: Electrical