Original Date: 11/12/2001
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Building Re-utilization
Frontier Electronic Systems capitalized on an opportunity to renovate a foreclosed motel into a luxurious engineering/manufacturing facility. Many space requirements were accomplished by converting motel facilities into manufacturing, laboratory, training, and office areas. The endeavor enabled the company to save more than $2.5 million in new building construction costs and utilize a larger facility 2.5 years ahead of schedule.
In 1989, the growth of Frontier Electronic Systems (FES) mandated an expansion so that the company could become a government-compliant manufacturing facility. To meet business needs, FES needed to incorporate its environmental stress screening, engineering design and support, circuit card assembly, and support functions into one location. Plans were developed to build a 50,000-square foot facility in Stillwater, Oklahoma to retain the current workforce without disrupting their family lives. However, the local banking institution representing FES approached the company with an alternative opportunity a 15-year old foreclosed motel in Stillwater that exceeded FES’ square footage requirements could be purchased for 25¢ on the dollar. Realizing the potential, the company invested in this opportunity.
Located on a main highway, the 86,000-square foot motel had abundant electrical and utility capacities as well as 25% additional space to enable future growth capabilities. This OSHA-compliant building featured a fire alarm system; ADA accessibility; adequate access and egress designs; and established tornado shelters for employee safety. Minor remodeling enabled FES to move into this facility within two months instead of the 36-month delay expected with new construction of a building. Internal walls were removed in one building wing and replaced with modular walls for shared support function office space. The entrance lobby was easily converted into a security/visitor reception area. The swimming pool area became a large auditorium/event area for customer presentations and employee all-hands meetings. Since the kitchen had adequate power distribution, this area was used to support test stations, vibration equipment, and environmental test screening thermal chambers. The bar became the printed circuit process center, while the dining rooms evolved into the engineering/manufacturing integration facility. The large ballrooms became the manufacturing assembly area which is located in close proximity to the existing receiving and shipping dock.
The renovated motel enables FES employees to enjoy many quality benefits. Management and engineering offices and laboratories are located in existing motel rooms, thereby providing large private spaces for focused efforts without disruptions. Many rooms have the added benefit of individual thermostats and bathrooms. The existing spacious courtyard offers employees and customers the opportunity to enjoy breaks and lunches outdoors among trees, flower gardens, a water stream, and a fishpond. The existing hard surface parking area and heavy truck access to existing loading docks provide support for company growth capabilities. By renovating the motel, FES saved more than $2.5 million in new building construction costs with minimal remodeling and lighting expenditures necessary to begin utilizing a larger facility 2.5 years ahead of schedule.
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