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Oklahoma State University

OSU breaks ground for new Central Plant

Friday, September 18, 2015

From left to right: Jon Schwartz - Burns McDonnell Gary James – Frankfurt Short Bruza (FSB) Rick Krysiak- OSU Director of Facilities Management Mike Buchert- OSU Director of Long Range Facilities Planning Ron Warner - Flintco James Rosner- OSU Director of Energy Services Joe Weaver- OSU Vice President of Administration and Finance

Oklahoma State University broke ground Friday for a new Central Plant that will improve efficiency and help the university reduce its environmental footprint.

The new 73,000-square foot facility will be located along Washington Street just north of the current Power Plant located along Hall of Fame Avenue.  

“This new Central Plant will align with OSU’s overall energy and sustainability efforts,” said OSU President Burns Hargis. “This new facility’s advanced efficiency equipment will mean more than $400,000 in estimated annual energy savings, and the facility will distribute green energy created by the Cowboy Windfarm for heating and cooling instead of producing the power on campus.”

The wind farm near Blackwell has supplied 70 percent of the power to campus since 2013. The switch to wind power has reduced the CO2 emission of the campus by 89.000 metric tons, which is equivalent to removing 19,000 cars from the road or growing 72,900 acres of trees in one year. 

The current Power Plant was constructed in 1948 and according to James Rosner, director of Energy Services at OSU, it has exceeded its life expectancy by more than 17 years. 

“The Power Plant has served the Stillwater campus well for more than 65 years,” said Rosner. “It is because of the dedication of the utilities production staff that the World War II-era equipment has been able to function as long as it has.”

The new Central Plant will serve 10 million square feet across the OSU-Stillwater campus, which is equivalent to heating and cooling about 9,000 homes. 

In addition to its efficiency, another unique aspect of the new facility will be its integration into the educational process. The Central Plant will include an 80-person classroom for interdisciplinary teaching. It also will have an observation deck for students and visitors to view the boiler and chiller floors and display screens showing settings from the control room.  

Flintco of Tulsa will build the project and Frankfurt Short Bruza (FSB) of Oklahoma City is the architect. In fact, one of FSB founders, Wally Frankfurt, was the designer of the current Power Plant. Joining OSU for the groundbreaking was his son, Bill Frankfurt.

“We are honored to work with Oklahoma State University to carry out its unique vision to create within an ultra-modern plant an ambitious teaching center and science laboratory capable of delivering the kind of hands-on experience that will give engineering graduates the real world credentials global companies find invaluable,” said Bill Frankfurt, Chairman of the Board of FSB.

“As a firm, we embrace the sustainability direction set forth by President Hargis to design an efficient central plant enabling Oklahoma State to further reduce its environmental impact by using state-of-the-art  technologies and high-efficiency processes with renewable energy sources,” said Gary James, President of FSB.

When built, the new facility will be connected to the existing chilled water, steam and electrical piping and distribution systems that support every building on the Stillwater campus. The estimated cost of the new plant is $75 million and is expected to be completed by December of 2017.  

Photos of ground breaking and a rendering of the Central Plant:

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