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FirstEnergy Unveils Plans to Build New $45M Facility in Akron

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE), a diversified energy company headquartered in Akron, Ohio, recently unveiled its plans to construct a new transmission control center at the company’s West Akron complex. Groundbreaking is expected to occur in spring 2013.

The new ”state-of-the-art and environmentally friendly transmission control center” will be known as the ”Akron Control Center” and is expected to cost approximately $45 million. It will have 70,000 square feet of space and is expected to be completed by the end of 2013. The 150-acre site on which the highly secure facility will be built is already home to an Ohio Edison service center, a FirstEnergy call center and a large office building where several company subsidiaries are based.

The Akron Control Center will feature advanced computer systems and 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. It will replace the company’s existing Ohio Transmission Control Center in Wadsworth, Ohio. As the highly secure facility is completed, 112 employees from Wadsworth will be transferred to Akron. The center in Wadsworth will be used as a back-up and training facility.

FirstEnergy will submit the project for U.S. Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification. If approved, it would be FirstEnergy’s third major LEED-certified facility. The West Akron campus received a Gold LEED status in 2009. It is one of the largest green office buildings in Ohio.

“The new Akron Control Center is designed to make our current high level of transmission service reliability even better,” said Charles Jones Jr., senior vice president & president of FirstEnergy Utilities. “In addition, we will utilize high-performance, environmentally friendly design, construction and operational options for this new building.”

Ohio-based Braun & Steidl Architects is designing the project. The Welty Building Co., also from Ohio, will serve as construction manager, while GPD, of Akron, will provide electrical/mechanical engineering services and Thorson Baker & Associates, of Richfield, Ohio, will be in charge of site development and structural engineering.

Rendering courtesy of FirstEnergy Corp.