The construction site outside on Coolidge Highway is indicative of more than just a physical expansion: The architecture and engineering firm also is adding staff and services.
The national company's Berkley office, which did more than $12 million worth of business during 2011, is building a 13,480-square-foot addition to accommodate new employees and expanded engineering services.
"We're trying to be full service for our clients," SHW Group architect Justin Wieber said.
The Berkley location, which opened in 2003, has done work at public universities throughout Michigan, including Central Michigan University’s Biosciences Building, the University of Michigan’s College of Education, Grand Valley State University’s Mary Idema Pew Library and renovations to Michigan State University’s Brody housing complex.
It also has served dozens of K-12 clients and has been hired to design the new Bloomfield Hills High School and update buildings in the Brighton Area Schools district following the May passage of bonds in both cities.
"SHW Group has seen an increase in the demand for its services in both the higher ed and K-12 markets," as economic conditions have improved following the economic downturn that began in 2008, spokeswoman Maggie Turner said. "The firm has recently expanded its services to include mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineering services, and incorporated sister company, Cambridge Strategic Services, a leading provider of strategic planning for educational organizations, into its office."
SHW Group currently employs (approximately) 90 people in Berkley and will have room for 100 after the expansion is completed, Wieber said.
Ground was broken Sept. 4 on the addition that will give the firm a total of 28,680 square feet of space, including an open work area for additional employees, six collaboration areas for team discussions, two conference rooms and three individual break-out rooms.
The facility also will pursue Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification and include the following energy-efficient design measures.
- A high-efficiency mechanical system and high-performing exterior glass.
- Exterior walls and roof insulated above energy code to promote reduced energy consumption.
- Nine skylights to provide daylight and to work with photocell-controlled lighting system.
- Bicycle parking as well as preferred parking for low-emitting/fuel-efficient vehicles.
The expansion's footprint will go where the building's parking lot used to be on the north side of the building and parking will be shifted to the east, Wieber said. City Planner Amy Vansen said SHW Group purchased two properties on Oxford to make room for the new parking lot.
Frank Rewold and Son Inc. of Rochester is serving as contractor on the project, which is expected to wrap up in February.
“In a little less than 10 years, we have experienced great growth, making us the second-largest employer in Berkley,” SHW Group CEO Marjorie Simmons said in a press release. “This addition will allow us to continue to provide our clients with the same quality of service and specialized expertise they have come to expect from SHW Group.”
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