Critical electronic data is kept safe and secure in this tornado-proof concrete facility.
Oklahoma’s unpredictable weather creates a unique set of challenges when designing buildings, especially when those facilities must continue to operate 24/7. This was the case for the FSB team when Devon Energy Corporation approached our firm about its need for a new high-tech data center.
Designed to not only meet the highest levels of electronic and physical security, the resulting precast concrete building is capable of withstanding an EF-5 tornado, with wind speeds of up to 350 miles per hour. The design proved itself a mere three years after the building’s completion, when the center was struck by an EF-1 tornado and continued to function smoothly. Multiple primary and backup systems were incorporated to ensure the center continues to function even under these extreme circumstances. These systems include six generators, three of which are installed inside additional tornado-resistant concrete shells.
The building’s mechanical systems include primary and backup chilled water systems which service vital computer room cooling equipment. Specialized air intake and exhaust systems on three air-cooled chiller towers prevent debris from entering in the event of high winds. The system also incorporates approximately one hour’s worth of chilled water storage, providing a seamless transition from one chiller system to the other in case of a power outage. In the event of a mechanical failure or storm damage to the cooling towers, large steel dampers open and a backup air-cooled chiller system is activated. The site also contains underground diesel fuel tanks which can supply the needs of the backup generators for several days. A complex system of sensors continuously monitors all equipment in the building.
Along with providing data security and physical protection, these building systems allow for additional energy conservation, earning the structure a LEED Silver sustainability rating. Security cameras are located within and without, and special crash fencing prevents vehicles from approaching the building perimeter. A small office area in the front of the center features glass exterior walls and space for a dozen employees, including offices, a break room and a conference room. The facility itself is a companion to a separate records storage center owned by Devon and also designed by FSB.