December 16, 2016
RISD Executive Director of Facility Services Michael Longanecker, AIA, discusses the RISD Operations Center, which is nearing completion.
The new RISD Operations Center broke ground in February 2016, along Greenville Avenue between Walnut and Abrams. Can you elaborate on the need for this new facility?
In recent years, RISD has added the second most students in our area, behind Frisco. We currently serve 39,272 students on 54 campuses. Including central buildings, RISD maintains 70 facilities, comprised of about 6.2 million square feet of interior space, more than 35 million sq ft of grounds, and student enrollment is expected to continue to rise.
As our enrollment grows, the elements needed to maintain our campuses and space required to effectively serve our students grow as well. The old facilities building, near the administration building on Greenville Avenue, housed only transportation maintenance. There was no space allocated for building maintenance. As old portables were removed from campuses, we would repurpose and retrofit them for use as HVAC, plumbing, and electrical maintenance facilities. We squeezed in and made do for over a decade, but with our growth, the need was very evident. We couldn’t support 6.2 million square feet from portables. The new operations center will enable us to combine all these facilities.
There was initially concern from some neighbors in the vicinity of the new facility about increases in traffic, specifically buses. How have those concerns been addressed?
The site is 43 acres in total, located north of Walnut between Greenville Avenue and Abrams Road. Plans were drawn to purposely locate the warehouse (the tallest building) at the center of the property, create a greenbelt set-back on Abrams, and have the bus traffic coming to fuel or be repaired routed in and out from Greenville Avenue – instead of Abrams Rd. that is nearest the homeowners. It’s also important to note that only about a dozen buses will be housed at the new facility. RISD’s fleet of more than 100 buses will continue to park at and operate from the facility along Buckingham Rd., behind the Christa McAuliffe Learning Center.
City code also required construction of a six-foot perimeter wall around the property, but the district increased that to a 10-foot wall in response to neighbors’ feedback. The higher wall will not allow for sight lines to the majority of the buildings on the property, and will also help subdue any noise generated by the facility.
This facility will actually house more than the district’s current facilities operations. Can you give us the breakdown?
The new Operations Center will house the district print shop, a suite of professional development training rooms, and offices for the departments of purchasing, testing, bond program management and child nutrition. This is in addition to facilities & maintenance, vehicle services and all warehouse functions. Our new warehouse will provide much needed additional space, and include secure receiving areas for technology and textbooks.
When does the district estimate completion of the project?
We’ve been able to overcome lots of wet weather that caused construction delays, and are still on track for completion by May 2017. Our goal is to allow our personnel moving to the new site ample time to move and get settled in before the start of 2017-18 school year in August. We’ve grown by hundreds of thousands of square feet during my tenure with the RISD. The new Operations Center will enable facilities and maintenance to continue to support the growth the district continues to experience.
The RISD Operations Center is located at 1123 S. Greenville Avenue in Richardson.
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