Ameren Missouri recently broke ground on a new $20.7 million operating center for its electric operations serving North St. Louis and surrounding communities. The North Metro Operating Center will be located at 4427 Geraldine Ave. and replace the adjacent Geraldine Operating Center, which has employed hundreds of Ameren Missouri workers and served North City for over 60 years.
Construction of the new facility will require a workforce of approximately 500 workers and 20 diverse suppliers to complete, including Ameren Missouri employees, local union contractors and subcontractors.
Ameren Missouri is constructing the project through a joint partnership with its general contractors, PARIC Corporation and KAI Enterprises. KAI Design & Build, a St. Louis-based minority-owned business enterprise (MBE), is a 50 percent partner in the construction project, along with PARIC Corporation. Close to 40 percent of the PARIC/KAI joint venture construction costs will be diverse spend, and of that 40 percent at least 25 percent will be MBE spend, according to Ameren Missouri.
KAI/PARIC have monthly reporting requirements of their diverse spending to Ameren Missouri. “The project schedule/bi-weekly progress meetings will give us insight to diverse companies performing on the job according to the project schedule so we can ensure their on-site participation,” an Ameren Missouri spokesman said.
The project includes a 19,600-square-foot office building for administrative offices and crew area, a 26,000-square-foot open truck shelter for 42 trucks, a 6,400-square-foot storage building, and a 4,400-square-foot 3-sided trailer storage building. The new facility is expected to be completed by December 2020 and will accommodate close to 70 employees.
"As a former lineman for Ameren Missouri and superintendent of the Geraldine Operating Center, I can attest to the importance of reinvesting in North St. Louis," said Patrick E. Smith, vice president of division operations for Ameren Missouri. "It's hard to be what you can't see. Investment in a facility that provides critical services to its surrounding residents and businesses demonstrates a commitment to the community and inspires a new generation of kids to seek careers in the energy industry."
The North Metro Operating Center project is part of Ameren Missouri's Smart Energy Plan that includes thousands of infrastructure projects throughout the state to upgrade the energy grid to a smarter, cleaner and stronger system for customers.
The Smart Energy Plan was introduced in August 2018, after Missouri legislators passed new energy legislation, Senate Bill 564. The law makes possible thousands of upgrades to the electric grid that will reduce outages, generate cleaner solar and wind energy and reduce carbon emissions. Ameren Missouri will invest $5.3 billion in these and other upgrades that will serve more than 500 communities across the state.
In addition to building the $20.7 million North Metro Operating Center, Ameren Missouri plans to spend $193 million to improve the energy delivery system in the Archview Division, which includes North St. Louis. Over the next several years Ameren Missouri will build new substations and install smart, automated equipment and new utility poles. These upgrades are designed to reduce the likelihood and length of outages, particularly those caused by storms and high winds.
Ameren Missouri has more than 60 operating centers within six divisions that serve communities throughout the state. These centers are localized hubs for hundreds of workers that perform work from electric system repairs to major infrastructure upgrade projects to storm restoration. The company's service area covers 64 counties and more than 500 communities, including the greater St. Louis area.