FOX Engineering wins Grand Conceptor Award from American Council of Engineering Companies

FOX Engineering, HDR, Barr Engineering, and City of Ames win Excellence in Engineering Award

Ames, IA – FOX Engineering Associates, Inc., HDR, Barr Engineering, and the City of Ames are recipients of the 2020 American Council of Engineering Companies – Iowa chapter (ACEC-IA) Grand Conceptor award in addition to winning the Grand Prize in the Water and Wastewater Category for the Ames Water Treatment Plant (WTP) Project.  The Grand Conceptor Award is given to the one project that stands out above all other entries, regardless of project category. 

The Ames WTP is a 15 million gallon per day (MGD) facility located on ground previously owned by the federal government.  The facility was built to be sustainable, operate efficiently, provide increased redundancy and resiliency, and achieve LEED certification. 

The design team of FOX Engineering, HDR, and Barr Engineering, enhanced the strength of the City’s water system with comprehensive planning, design, and construction of the Ames WTP. The City staff, including administration, engineering, operators, and maintenance personnel, were an equally important part of the design team. Design required planning to address not only technical factors involved with treating the water, but also development of the site, costs, funding, and long-term objectives.  “We are grateful to have won the Grand Concepter award” says Keith Hobson, CEO of FOX Engineering. “It is a testament to the teamwork, leadership and expertise led by the FOX Engineering team.  We are proud to have won this award for a project in our hometown and the collaboration we had with the City of Ames.”

The Ames WTP demonstrated a breakthrough approach to designing a water treatment plant to achieve LEED certification.  Design included use of wood selected from renewable forests, selection of low VOC emitting materials, enhanced storm water control, design of a heating and cooling system reducing energy consumption by 30%, and the use of recycled white roofing materials and bright white concrete to reduce the buildings’ heat island effects.  The City and the design team worked together to ergonomically configure equipment access with the operations’ staff health and safety in mind.  Through a sustainability partnership with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, the City of Ames received an approximate $6.5 million of loan forgiveness for achieving the LEED certification.

The success of the project was capped with a public open house in August 2017 that drew more than 1,500 residents to view the new facility and to learn firsthand of the City’s efforts to assure them quality water into the future.  The facility’s design allows routine public tours by schools, university students, and community groups. 

In addition to providing safe, quality drinking water to more than 18,000 homes and businesses, the WTP serves as a multi-use facility for hosting conferences and training events and can serve as a backup emergency operations center for the City of Ames.  The WTP also houses a display of local public art acquired through an annual art competition and exposition. 

The $70 million facility was completed in 2018.   Overall, the collaborative and open design process allowed many voices to be heard resulting in a facility in which the entire design team and City staff have pride in ownership.

FOX Engineering is an environmental engineering firm based in Ames, Iowa who specializes in. water, wastewater, and stormwater solutions for a diverse group of governmental and industrial clients. HDR specializes in engineering, architecture, environmental and construction services and provided structural, architectural, mechanical, and chemical process design for the project.  Barr Engineering provides engineering and environmental consulting services and provided electrical engineering services for the Ames WTP.

The Ames Water Treatment Plant is a conventional lime-softening facility with a maximum daily capacity of 15 million gallons per day.  It serves all residential, commercial, and industrial customers in Ames, including Iowa State University.  The new Water Plant became operational on July 27, 2017, and received back-to-back recognition as the “best tasting water in Iowa” in 2017 and 2018.

FOX Engineering is an environmental engineering firm based in Ames, Iowa. We specialize in water and wastewater solutions for our diverse municipal and industrial clients. Our work varies in size and scope and can be found throughout the Midwest and beyond.