University of Michigan Data Centers

Growth in research computing and increased administrative data systems created an increasing demand for computer data centers at the University of Michigan. The university put plans together to construct a new state-of-the-art center located in the North Campus Research Complex.


Primary contractor Granger construction chose Huron Valley Electric (HVE) and parent Motor City Electric Co. (MCE) the complete electrical contract for the new University of Michigan MCIT Data Center and Machine Room Facility. This complex houses an 11,000 sq. ft. data center, 7,500 sq. ft. of support space, and 28,500 sq. ft. of space for a central plant that includes power, heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and data infrastructure support. The building is built to withstand 200 mile-per-hour wind gusts and has redundant systems for power, cooling, and water storage to allow for continuous operation.


Coordination and Attention to Detail

The coordination required to sequentially manage and perform all electrical component installations incorporating a condensed overlay of multiple electrical power distribution systems, multiple backup power distribution systems, and an array of communication cable management systems demanded our keen attention to detail along with a great deal of ingenuity and creativity.


New electrical site utilities routed across challenging terrain provide incoming utility power and communications systems to the building. All of these are tied into dual 13kV substations, paralleling switchgear, and power distribution equipment. In contrast, dual emergency generators and rotary UPS power systems provide backup power systems. The electrical support systems included an array of cable management trays, distribution to multiple computer racks, fire alarm and security systems, multiple cameras, and restricted card access.

Secure Parallel Backup

Other sectors of the University of Michigan will also utilize the new data center for storage or safe parallel backup of information. “With the new data center, we can store copies of our data at two separate locations several miles apart,” said Bill Wrobleski, Director of U-M Technical Infrastructure Operations.


Aggressive Schedule

All contractors completed the entire project in less than 14 months, with most of the electrical scope completed in nine months. This extremely aggressive schedule for an electrical installation of this magnitude required significant pre-planning, coordination, and 3D design development: our engineering and onsite supervisory team’s collaboration, dedication, and attention to detail.


HVE and MCE demonstrated throughout this project their dedication to teamwork by assisting in solving design problems, construction issues, layout constraints, and schedule management modifications. We continually provided input to the architect, engineers, construction manager, and owner on more efficient, cost-effective, and faster ways to implement the changes at hand were playing a vital role in the successful completion of this fantastic project.


Huron Valley Electric, Motor City Electric


University of Michigan


Ann Arbor, Michigan


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