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Design Build Correctional in Northern CA

On the hard soil in Ione, California (Amador County), Bergelectric has made great strides on one of their largest design build correctional facilities to date—Mule Creek Infill Complex. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) project will include 544,000 s.f. of new construction across 23 individual buildings, and will house Level II inmates for the California Prison System. The Mule Creek Infill Complex is adjacent to the active, high-security Mule Creek State Prison.

Bergelectric has teamed with Hensel Phelps and electrical designers EXP Services, Inc. in a design-build effort that can only be described as “extraordinary.” With only 800 days for design, permit, construction, commission and turnover to CDCR, the team has had to take exceptional steps to ensure the project meets the demanding schedule.

To start, Bergelectric’s BIM Department was brought on board at the early design stages. Using BIM Level of Development (LOD) 500, they were able to coordinate the underground activities in a joint-trench that ran the perimeter of the prison. The BIM model, combined with Construction Operations Building Information Exchange (COBie), will serve as the final sign-off document used by all subcontractors to coordinate overhead MEP utilities, and as the final as-built document that will eventually be turned over to CDCR.

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Because of the fast-track schedule involved with this colossal installation, Bergelectric made a great effort to engage in the design process early on, which has been key to keeping the project on track. “Our Design Manager, Dean Oltjenbruns, has been on board from the beginning—successfully managing the design process,” said Bergelectric’s Project Manager, Dan Winkels. “He has helped bring concept to reality by working with the field staff on a daily basis.”

In the field, Bergelectric has equipped themselves with a highly-skilled supervision staff that had recently come off of two successful CDCR projects. “Without the knowledge, professionalism and prison experience that Foremen, Mike Pintus, Mike Keefe and Mike Amador brought to the table, this project would be nowhere near the level of completion it is currently in,” said Bergelectric General Foreman John Larson. Thus far, Bergelectric field forces have peaked at 115 electricians—15 of which were Foremen.

Bergelectric’s scope of work does not stop at the electrical installation. Their National Technology Systems Group has been contracted to provide the low voltage system installation that includes telecommunications, MATV, and fire alarm. Low voltage technicians have peaked at approximately 30 technicians on site thus far.

Though Bergelectric has teamed with Hensel Phelps on similar correctional facilities in the state of California that include the 1.1-million s.f. Coalinga State Hospital and the San Quentin Central Health Services Facility, the aggressive schedule at Mule Creek Infill Complex is truly unique. There were three separate precast concrete operations going on simultaneously that produced 892 off-site electrical panels, 750 on-site electrical panels, and 216 on-site dorm module units. The precast components were crucial in keeping the project on schedule. In fact, Bergelectric had field installation crews working in staggering shifts for 24 hours/day, six days a week during much of this process to insure the installation met the demanding schedule.

In addition to the correctional complex, Bergelectric is installing a new substation and power generation facility. The adjacent substation will consist of four (4) 2MW Kohler generators, 1,200A ASCO Paralleling Switchgear, 24,000 Gallon Fuel Farm and a 15/20MVA 60kV:12kV substation. The new substation will tie into the new Mule Creek Infill Complex along with the existing Mule Creek State Prison.

The CDCR is striving for a LEED® Silver Certification for the Mule Creek Infill Complex. LEED® features include daylight harvesting, LED lighting in select areas, separate metering of general power, and lighting and mechanical loads for Energy Measurement and Verification (EM&V).

Special environmental issues had to be addressed on the job-site. Permits were required to cross Mule Creek (the adjacent creek that the facility is named after). Additionally, local Native American tribes were invited out on a few occasions to examine suspected Native American remains.

“Much credit needs to be handed out to our management staff that has helped keep this project on track from day one,” said Bergelectric Sacramento Regional Manager, Pete Casazza. “This has been a monumental job for the Sacramento Region. So far…it’s been an all-around success!”

544,000  Square Feet

Electrical Construction Cost
$43 Million

March 2014 – Ongoing

Delivery Method
Design Build

Other Team Members
Hensel Phelps
HOK Architect
EXP Engineers

Berg Regional Office




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