Ameren Missouri breaks ground on new $21 million operating center in North St. Louis

New facility to serve as electric operations hub for more than 135,000 customers

ST. LOUIS, MO (STL.News) Ameren Missouri announced plans Thursday to construct 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 Avenue and replace the adjacent Geraldine Operating Center, which has employed hundreds of Ameren Missouri workers and served the North City community for over 60 years.

Construction of the new facility requires a workforce of approximately 500 workers and 20 diverse suppliers to complete, including Ameren Missouri employees, local union contractors and subcontractors.  The new facility is expected to be completed by December 2020 and will accommodate close to 70 employees.

The location of the new operating center is already being prepared for the start of construction, which was preceded by months of demolition of an existing warehouse and excavation of terrain.

“Ameren Missouri is committed to creating stronger communities where we work and live, which is why we are reinvesting in North St. Louis by building the new North Metro Operating Center next door to our current facility,” said Michael Moehn, chairman and president of Ameren Missouri.  “The new, larger facility was needed to continue to meet our customers’ service reliability needs in North St. Louis and surrounding communities.  A project of this magnitude requires collaboration and partnership with a number of stakeholders, including local government officials, community leaders and a host of diverse contractors.”

Ameren Missouri is constructing this project through a joint partnership with its general contractors, PARIC Corporation and KAI Enterprises.

“We are very excited to start this project with Ameren Missouri alongside our longtime partners KAI,” said Keith Wolkoff, president of PARIC Corporation.

The joint venture partnership between PARIC and KAI will represent the two firms’ eighth project together over the past 20 years.  As a prominent construction leader in the area, PARIC recognizes the impact of partnering with diverse businesses.  “We pride ourselves on bringing meaningful inclusion efforts to all of our projects and embed that into our company culture,” Wolkoff said.  “The importance of growing the capabilities of minority firms in our area is crucial.”

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.

“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.

North Metro Operating Center Project Details:

  • 19,600-square-foot office building for administrative offices and crew area
  • 26,000-square-foot open truck shelter for 42 trucks
  • 6,400-square-foot storage building
  • 4,400-square-foot 3-sided trailer storage building

Ameren Missouri has been providing electric and natural gas service for more than 100 years, and the company’s electric rates are among the lowest in the nation. Ameren Missouri’s mission is to power the quality of life for its 1.2 million electric and 130,000 natural gas customers in Central and Eastern Missouri.  The company’s service area covers 64 counties and more than 500 communities, including the greater St. Louis area.

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