Project Huckleberry

Mesa, Arizona

An ariel rendering view of 5 buildings in the middle of the desert

Innovative Prefabrication Solutions Help Drive Success of Massive Mesa Data Center Project

The Mesa Data Center project is an impressive undertaking, involving the development of a sprawling campus comprising five buildings with a total of over 2.5 million square feet of data center and administrative space.

Located in Mesa, AZ, the project is not only ambitious in scale but also in its commitment to sustainability and efficiency. Once completed, the Mesa Data Center will rank among the most advanced and efficient data centers globally, thanks to its innovative design and use of cutting-edge technology.

As a partner in this project, GPLA played a crucial role in ensuring its success, particularly when it came to implementing prefabrication innovations and approaches. The company supplied the design alternative and detailing for the prefabricated rebar cages, multi-trade racks (MTR) and the virtual coordination of onsite duct banks.

Embracing a design-assist approach, GPLA took prefabrication to a new level from early in the project by reworking the traditional foundation system to utilize prefabrication for the foundation footing rebar cages. This approach addressed and mitigated the risk of rain delays, provided greater schedule certainty, and eliminated the overlapping of trades and jobsite personnel during the foundation construction stage. Due to the project’s massive footprint, the construction team was able to prefabricate and tie the many rebar footing cages on one end of the jobsite on a schedule that worked around other priorities. The prefabricated footings were transported to their designated position and dropped into place when it was time for that section of foundation to be built – a process that took mere hours versus several days had they been individually assembled in place.

A challenge relating to one oversized footing that was not able to be prefabricated onsite due to its large size of approximately 80 ft.-by 20-ft. illustrates the superiority of that prefabricated approach. When a heavy rain event occurred just as that particular footing was being constructed in place, it caused approximately four inches of soil to seep under the reinforcing work. GPLA came up with an effective and time-saving solution to avoid the potential for long delays to fix this issue, designing a method to lift the footing directly in place so that the contractor could make the repairs and then lower it back into position.

In addition to innovations in the foundation prefabrication work, the Mesa Data Center project also featured a unique prefabricated guard shack that was designed by GPLA as structural engineer of record on that work component. In what was a first-of-its-kind approach for this large data center owner and project team, the shack was completely prefabricated (including all mechanical and electrical components) in an out-of-state facility in Austin, TX and then shipped to the job site for quick placement.

One of the most innovative prefabricated features of the Mesa Data Center is the MTRs, which are prefabricated multi-span steel frames hung from the roof structure above to support HVAC, plumbing, and electrical equipment. This design maximized onsite construction efficiency and coordination, while minimizing construction schedule risk.

Overall, the Mesa Data Center highlights the possibilities of efficient data center design incorporating unique approaches to prefabricated components. GPLA’s contribution to the project demonstrates the importance of collaborative efforts in realizing such ambitious undertakings, and the MTRs and the prefabricated foundation cages are a testament to the innovative design solutions that can be employed to maximize efficiency and sustainability.