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Corps to build new Mill Creek Dam office; visitor services to be improved

Published Feb. 8, 2012

WALLA WALLA, Wash. –  Construction will soon begin on a new office building for the  U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Walla Walla District (Corps), Mill Creek Flood Control Project, located along side Mill Creek off Reservoir Road just east of Walla Walla’s city limits. 

In contrast to the old office -- a 900-square-foot configuration of older building additions made to accommodate staff operations during the decades since original construction in the 1930s -- the new office will meet both the needs of staff and visitors.  

The new 3,756-square-foot building will include a visitor display area with a public restroom, receptionist area, operations manager office, lunch/conference room, ranger office area, maintenance office area, maintenance equipment room, a men's and women's employee restrooms with lockers and showers, and a janitor closet. Site work includes, but is not limited to, a new septic drain field, access road, expanded parking, a new pedestrian bridge and realignment of electrical lines.

The new office building, to be located on an undeveloped piece of Corps-managed property near the existing office, will include ADA-compliant features, and is designed using Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) principles.

LEED, a voluntary program developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) primarily for the commercial construction industry, encourages the design and construction of sustainable facilities that reduce energy consumption and waste, both during the construction and future use of the building. LEED certifications range from basic certification to the Silver, Gold and Platinum rankings. LEED certification provides independent, third-party verification that a building, home or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at achieving high performance in key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.

Sustainable design and environmental stewardship have long been a part of the Corps’ civil works construction goals. And in today's age of environmental-stewardship awareness – where the philosophy of "going green" seems to be sweeping the nation – the Corps continues to find better ways to provide sustainable, energy- and natural resource-efficient facilities.

 “This is our district’s first building project using LEED-silver criteria,” said Corps Project Manager Simeon Francis. “Our district design team really came through with some great ‘green’ ideas for improving the sustainability aspects of this facility.”

The Mill Creek Project Office Building Replacement project strives to achieve LEED-silver standards by incorporating many sustainable elements into the project including:

·   low-flow faucets and toilets

·   gray-water reuse system, which treats used water from the restroom faucets, showers and water fountain and uses it for flushing the toilets

·   ground loop heat exchanger, which uses natural, underground heat as a source to help heat and cool the new building

·   building position orientation to allow maximum access to direct sunlight

·   skylights and solar tubes; building elements to allow exterior lighting into the building

·   low-consumption lighting control which automatically adjusts interior electrical lighting output based on the amount of sunlight entering a room and occupancy sensors that turn lights off when they detect a room to be vacant

·   solar collection panels projected to provide AC energy up to 10,034 kilowatt hours per year of net metering. Net metering is a means of adding an on-site energy-producing source like solar power to the local electrical utility grid. Net metering allows an electric meter to spin forward when electricity flows from a standard electrical utility system (at night and during overcast conditions), and spin backwards when your renewable energy system produces surplus electricity that is not immediately used (during daylight conditions).

·   double-stud building perimeter walls for increased R-value insulation

·   many building materials will be composed of or contain recycled material

·   building waste material, both during construction and when occupied, will be separated for disposal and\or recycling, diverting waste from landfills

·   selection and placement of landscaping trees, shrubs and rocks to minimize water consumption -- no permanent irrigation will be installed because native drought-tolerant planting will be utilized

“The energy-saving features are designed to achieve a 30-percent reduction in energy consumption and significantly reducing office operating costs,” Francis added. “Through thoughtful design, all of the regularly occupied office spaces within the building have access to views and daylighting.”

The Corps awarded the approximately $2.2-million contract to Randolph Construction Services Inc. from Pasco, Wash., to construct the new project office, which will replace the 60-plus-year-old existing project office.

Sunnie Scott, LEED-AP and project quality manager for Randolph, said construction activities are scheduled to begin during the week of Feb. 20 and the project will bring work to many nearby business.

“We make every attempt to utilize local subcontractors and vendors,” said Scott. “We have almost 20 subcontractors from the Walla Walla Valley and Tri-Cities areas already on board as a part of our team on this project.” 

Those sub-contracted businesses include:

·   A&B Asphalt, Benton City, Wash. -- new asphalt and parking area

·   Key Excavating, Milton-Freewater, Ore. -- excavation and utility installation

·   Apollo Sheet Metal, Kennewick, Wash. -- installing plumbing, HVAC and ground source loop systems

·   Columbia Basin Rebar, Burbank, Wash. -- supplying reinforcing bar

·   Eagle Fence, Walla Walla, Wash. -- installing fencing

·   Intermountain West Insulation, Kennewick, Wash. -- installing insulation throughout building

·   J&B Construction and Landscaping, Kennewick, Wash. -- landscaping, temporary irrigation and pavers

·   Paintmaster Service, Benton City, Wash. -- painting and coating

·   RedBuilt, Richland, Wash. -- supplying I-joists and Glulams

·   Rodan & Son Concrete, Dixie, Wash. -- concrete installer for all of the site concrete (foundation and hardscape)

·   R.P. Construction, Kennewick, Wash. -- framing contractor

·   Koncrete Industries, Walla Walla, Wash. -- concrete batch plan, supplying the concrete and stone veneer product

·   Monarch Machinery, Pasco, Wash. -- supplying structural steel components and metal gate

·   Systematic Wood Designs, Walla Walla, Wash. -- supplying and installing casework, countertops and shelving

·   Stratton Surveying, Kennewick, Wash. -- project surveyor

·   Walla Walla Electric, Walla Walla, Wash. -- installing electrical, generator system, communications and solar panels

·   Yale Glass, Walla Walla, Wash. -- installing glass doors and glazing

·   Modern Masonry, Walla Walla, Wash. -- installing stone veneer

The new building is scheduled for completion in October. The old office will be dismantled when funding becomes available.

All new federal facilities and major renovations are required to comply with the Guiding Principles for Sustainable Buildings and Major Renovations, which implement Executive Order 13423 and EISA 2007. Multiple Executive Orders, laws and regulations define federal high performance and sustainable building requirements. Additional information about sustainable building policies can be found online at

For more information about Mill Creek Dam and Bennington Lake visit the Walla Walla District website at or find them on Facebook at


Release no. 12-07