Making It Count
Making It Count
Making It Count
2 minute read

Design-build services for three census facilities that process the millions of forms involves converting warehouse space in offices and storage areas, as well as parking lots for more than 800 employees.

When U.S. residents fill out their 2010 census forms, their answers will inform a multitude of policy decisions and update national population trends. Processing these critical data requires a streamlined network of people and computers.

Behind the scenes, Burns & McDonnell has helped make it happen by providing design-build services for three facilities to process the millions of census forms. The 30 team members on the project were selected to provide the critical experience in facilities design and construction services to accommodate the unique needs of a project of this scope.

“It’s fun to be a part of something this big,” says project manager Bob Hoisington. “It’s also historic to be part of the census. In fact, the Constitution requires the government to conduct a census every 10 years.”

This isn’t the first time Burns & McDonnell has been the design-build contractor for a Census Bureau project. It provided the same services for the 2000 census. This time around, the company worked in partnership with Computer Sciences Corp. (CSC) to prepare data capture facilities in Baltimore, Phoenix and Jeffersonville, Ind.

The Jeffersonville center is a permanent Census Bureau location, and Burns & McDonnell provided help in upgrading the building. For the other two centers, Burns & McDonnell helped  select the right buildings.
CSC leased 236,500 square feet of a warehouse in Baltimore and 210,500 square feet of a warehouse and manufacturing facility in Phoenix. Each location needed parking for more than 800 employees and easy access to public transportation.

Construction crews converted the buildings into offices, training rooms, conference rooms, restrooms, lunchrooms, work areas and storage areas.

“The accommodations are reasonable, comfortable and cost-effective,” Hoisington says. “They are a prudent use of the taxpayers’ dollars.”

Each facility is laid out to efficiently process census forms. At the loading docks, trucks will deliver the forms and then workers will send them through high-speed sorters and optical scanners. After computers store the results, the forms will be shredded and destroyed.

“It’s very much like an industrial process by moving the paper through the center and making a finished product — namely the census data,” Hoisington says.

Burns & McDonnell developed mechanical and electrical systems to maintain proper humidity and temperatures to protect the paper forms and computer systems. Both facilities have computer server rooms with raised access floor systems, dedicated air conditioning, power conditioning and emergency power backups. Contractors added internal and external security systems to meet the Census Bureau’s requirements.

Hoisington credits the design-build delivery method with helping complete the project on budget and on time. “Funding issues in Congress compressed the time frame for construction, but design-build meant we had the facilities up and running on schedule,” he says. “Intense coordination between all contractors, subcontractors and suppliers meant that key equipment — air conditioning units, for example — arrived on time.”

Burns & McDonnell used more than 100 subcontractors and vendors to perform the construction activities at the various sites. Approximately 83 percent of the subcontracted dollars were awarded to small or disadvantaged businesses. “Burns & McDonnell’s small business advocate and construction managers made this high percentage possible, a commendable achievement,” Hoisington says.

For more information, contact Bob Hoisington, 816-822-3868.

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