W. Warner Williams Water Resource Park

Opelika, Alabama

This new complex for a public water utility includes process buildings to generate drinking water as well as headquarters for their primary operations.

The client requested that the project’s design and construction practices reflect good stewardship of the environment. Sustainable design strategies such as daylight harvesting, use of local materials, and recycling construction waste were used throughout the project and two of the buildings are LEED Silver Certified. Preservation of water quality was a particular concern.

The site is a previously undeveloped peninsula within a seven acre lake that serves as a water reservoir. The project is intended to be a demonstration model for building within an environmentally sensitive watershed: forested buffer zones are maintained between the buildings and lake, bioswales treat storm runoff, and parking areas use permeable pavers to trap oil and other vehicular contaminates. Landscaping consists of native plant species that don’t require irrigation or fertilizer.

The client stated both a need for durable structures and a desire for designs that relate to the adjacent woodland environment while maintaining a presence found in historic civic buildings. The design solution takes advantage of opportunities in siting the complex within the landscape, permanent materials, and the monumental scale required to house equipment such as locomotive size emergency generators and industrial water pumps. With a material palette of native timber, wood plank, local fieldstone, zinc, cast-in-place concrete, steel and glass; the project can be viewed as a modern interpretation of WPA Rustic Style structures constructed during the New Deal.

Client: Opelika Utilities

Cost: $35 million


2014 Honor Award from the American Institute of Architects, Birmingham Chapter

2014 Merit Award from the American Institute of Architects, Alabama Council

2015 National Recognition Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies