FirstEnergy to build $45 million transmission control center in Ohio

FirstEnergy Corp. plans to construct a transmission control center in Akron, Ohio. The highly secure facility will be built at the company’s West Akron Complex, an existing 150-acre site that already houses an Ohio Edison service center, a FirstEnergy call center, and a large office building where several company subsidiaries are based.

While preliminary site preparation work is being done this fall, groundbreaking for the 70,000-square-foot facility is expected to occur in the spring of 2013, with planned completion of construction by the end of the year. The new Akron Control Center, as it will be known, is expected to cost about $45 million.

The Akron Control Center will feature advanced computer systems to monitor electrical grid reliability in various geographic areas of the country where FirstEnergy has operations.

Once operational, the new Akron Transmission Control Center will oversee and monitor transmission operations in areas served by FirstEnergy’s Ohio Edison, Cleveland Electric Illuminating Co., Toledo Edison, Pennsylvania Power, Metropolitan Edison, Pennsylvania Electric Co. and Jersey Central Power & Light utilities. In addition, FirstEnergy’s Fairmont, W. Va., Transmission Control Center will continue to monitor transmission operations in areas served by the company’s Mon Power, Potomac Edison and West Penn Power utilities.

The new facility will replace the company’s existing Ohio Transmission Control Center located in Wadsworth, Ohio, which will be used as a back-up and training facility. Most of the 112 employees who currently work in Wadsworth will be transferred to Akron in stages as the new facility is completed.

FirstEnergy expects to submit this project to be considered for the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. If approved, the Akron Control Center would be FirstEnergy’s third major facility to receive LEED certification.

The Akron Control Center is being designed by Akron, Ohio-based Braun & Steidl Architects. Fairlawn, Ohio-based Welty Building Co., which previously served as construction manager for FirstEnergy’s West Akron Campus, also will be construction manager for this project. In addition, GPD, of Akron, is providing electrical/mechanical engineering services and Thorson Baker & Associates, of Richfield, Ohio, is doing site development and structural engineering.

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