Exterior side courtyard view.

Tucson Electric Power Phase II Campus Improvements

Tucson Electric Power Phase II Campus Improvements | Tucson, Arizona

Tucson Electric Power (TEP) provides safe, reliable power to more than 438,000 customers in Southern Arizona. Aiming to upgrade their operations facilities, support offices and amenity spaces, as well as better equip and connect their workforce, TEP entrusted DPR with constructing a six-building, 140,000-sq.-ft. campus-wide development. The industrial setting was transformed into an indoor/outdoor walkable campus with a courtyard.


  • Client Tucson Electric Power
  • Design Team Swaim Associates
About the


The project involved construction of five new buildings and renovation of an existing office building, together totaling nearly 140,000 sq. ft. TEP’s vision centered on creating a more modern and connected campus, with capabilities and amenities on par with the needs of their front-line workforce. The finished product is a testament to TEP’s investment in their people, adding operational and training capacity, and facilitating stronger community on campus.

Pandemic-related challenges to on-site staffing, training, and health and safety protocols could not prevent the DPR team from rallying together and hitting critical schedule milestones. From early-release GMPs for long-lead equipment, to prefabricated building elements, to unconventional sequencing for trades, the team used every tool they had to keep the project on track and finish ahead of schedule.

The new buildings include an operations center and support offices linked by a connector building, as well as a new badging center and training facility. Replacing outdated and disconnected structures, the revitalized campus is now a more walkable and accommodating workplace, with more gathering areas and dining spaces for employees to enjoy.

139,500 sq. ft.

119,500 sq. ft. of new construction and 20,000 sq. ft. of renovation.

14 days early

Operations center finished 14 days early.


450,000+ sq. ft.

Over 450,000 sq. ft. of self-performed drywall.



Site Constraints

Due to site constraints, the operations center’s exterior had to be completed before the team could begin construction of adjacent structures. This presented a bottleneck in trade workflows, not leaving enough time to conventionally frame and finish two adjoining buildings. The team explored alternatives for a faster, smoother transition in order to hit schedule milestones.

Schedule Bottlenecks

Another obstacle to the schedule was extensive underground utility work that preceded the operation center’s slab-on-grade placement. Rather than waiting for the slab to finish to begin interiors, i.e., using a traditional “ground-up” approach, the team decided to go “top-down” instead.



Prefabricated Panels

Working with the design team as well as strategic partners CoreSlab and Digital Building Components, the project team opted to use prefabricated panels for the operations center, office and connector building's exterior. This solution led to several efficiencies, allowing for the neighboring buildings to begin construction sooner, and providing a high-quality and site-built aesthetic in less time.

Top-down Approach to a Ground-up Building

Before underground work began, the concrete team installed pathways in the foundation that allowed for the structure and exterior to go up first. Once the building was closed in, trades began build-out of the second floor—with underground utility work going on simultaneously beneath them. By the time underground work was finished and the slab was placed, the trades were finished on the second floor and could move immediately to the first.

We think you'll like this, too.