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St. Alexius Medical Center Technology & Education Building

Bismarck, North Dakota

99,550 sf new Technology and Education Building

New data center for the St. Alexius Medical Center Campus

Sustainable and energy efficient design and construction

The CPI Group is the master planner and program manager for the St. Alexius Medical Center in Bismarck, North Dakota and in November of 2009 was tasked with the planning and building of the new green field data center building for the hospital. The existing data center’s demand for additional power and cooling was increasing on a monthly basis. Thus the data center’s demands on the hospital’s power and chiller capacities were taxing the resources needed for the patient care areas under renovation.  St. Alexius was concerned about inevitably reaching the maximum limits of the systems in place and sought a solution to eliminate what would have resulted in a crisis situation.

The challenges of such a project were two-fold:


  • A MUST HAVE Certificate of Occupancy by Nov. 15, 2011 to meet business commitments

  • To deliver against a fixed time line during North Dakota’s notoriously harsh winter months and wet spring seasons.


What resulted was a stand-alone, 99,550 square-foot, state-of-the-art facility boasting a combination of sustainable and energy efficient technologies unique to this building type application. Elements of the building include:

  • Central geothermal system including 313 wells with more than 46 miles of 1” pipe

  • 14 heat pumps capable of concurrent heating and cooling which offers a 3-4 times better coefficient of performance (COP) rate than an electric heater

  • Optimized control system where all available heating/cooling energy is captured and used within the building

  • Dedicated outside air system improving humidity control and occupant comfort as well as ensuring optimal outside air is delivered

  • Radiant ceiling cooling and heating (“activate chill beams”) offering both radiant/convective heating and cooling

  • “Aquatherm” polypropylene piping which is lighter and less expensive than copper and offers faster installation time ($230,000 in material and 6-8 weeks of time saved)

  • Power and cooling systems include dual, separate feeds from MDU (Mid-Dakota Utilities)power to ensure the service never goes down

  • “Flywheel” uninterruptible power source (UPS) system is 97% energy efficient and offers protection on both power room feeds

  • American power conversion (APC) cooling racks which use 80% less power than conventional systems and have in-row cooling for maximum efficiency

  • Returning the waste heat from the data center server racks to heat exchangers to heat the building

  • Three dual 500 Kw generators offer generator backup power to the entire building with space to add another dual unit in the future

  • Next generation elevators which don’t require rooftop machine rooms and are 75% more efficient than conventional elevators.


The new administration building has more technology than any other building on the hospital’s campus, was the least expensive one built, and operates at approximately half the cost of the hospital’s other buildings. The facility is conservatively estimated to use 48% less energy than current conventional buildings as benchmarked by the U.S. Department of Energy. It is expected to see an approximate energy savings of $1.50 per square foot each year and estimates a return on investment of four years or less.

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