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Winner - Best Tasting Water in Wisconsin, 2013 WWA State Fair competition


Paterson St Operations Center


Project Engineer:  Al Larson, P.E.:

(608) 266-4653

Madison Water Utility Engineering Section:

(608) 266-4646

Give us your feedback, or volunteer for the Citizens Advisory Panel:

(608) 266-4651

Building Architecture: Rich Lundeen, Mead & Hunt Inc.   (608) 273-6380


Siting and design options for the Operations Center Reconstruction project were discussed at a special Water Utility Board meeting on Feb. 18, 2014. The Board referred the project back to utility staff and City Planning for further option study and review. The project will be discussed again at the June, 2014 Water Utility Board meeting.


Get Involved! Join our Citizens Advisory Panel (CAP) and work closely with the neighborhood and alder for the area, Marsha Rummel, to develop and refine this project. Contact us at 608-266-4651 or to sign up.



Madison Water Utility is rebuilding its outdated and cramped Operations Center, located at the corner of South Paterson St. and East Main. The Ops Center is a critical facility which is staffed 24 hours a day and houses the utility's dispatch center, emergency water main repair crews, hydrant inspectors, flushing crews, fleet maintenance and well maintenance staff. Its central location on the Isthmus allows emergency repair crews to respond to main breaks as quickly as possible. The utility has budgeted $6.5 million to rebuild the facility. We hope to begin construction in the fall of 2014.

You can learn more about the safety and logistical issues our employees face at this facility on our Inside MWU page.


Madison Water Utility employees have worked on South Paterson St. for more than 75 years, moving into the current 1920's-era building in 1976. In 1985, MWU built a 46,000 square foot Vehicle Storage Building across the street from the Ops Center to house its fleet of trucks, miscellaneous parts and supplies, backhoes and other system maintenance equipment.

Operations Center Location


Moving across South Paterson Street.

City planners have determined that the existing Operations Center is located on prime property that should be developed to support revitilization of the East Washington corridor. The City intends to purchase the property from Madison Water Utility, possibly to use the site for parking. The Ops Center and all of its functions may be relocated to a new facility built on the vacant lot behind the 1985 vehicle storage building, noted as “Proposed Addition Area” in the aerial photo below. The new facility would provide much needed space and functionality to improve efficiency, employee safety, and work flow for field operations.

Proposed Addition Area



Why is this project needed?

The existing facility is undersized, cramped and inefficient for current needs. Maintaining dump trucks, backhoes, and other equipment is difficult and dangerous for employees. Locker rooms, office space, and other areas are in need of updating and expanding. The staff has grown during the 4 decades MWU has used the building and additional space is needed. Technology is changing and the facility needs to be updated to bring it up to current standards. Heating, ventilation and air conditioning is inadequate and air quality is questionable. The facility has served its useful life and needs to be replaced.

Why do this now?

Rebuilding our Ops Center has long been a part of the utility's plans. In 2004, MWU embarked on a facility renewal program with construction of a new administration building on Olin Avenue. Employees moved from the previous administration building at 523 East Main Street to Olin Avenue and some functions and employees moved from the 110 South Paterson Street Facility. MWU intends to construct the new operations center as part of Phase 2 of this facility renewal.

Why move the Operations Facility across the street?

Madison Water Utility owns the property at 110 South Paterson St., where the Ops Center is currently located, as well as the property across the street at 115 South Paterson, which is the site of our vehicle storage building. City planners have decided the City should purchase 110 S. Paterson from MWU and perhaps use the site for parking. The decision would mean that Madison Water Utility must consolidate all Operations Center functions at 115 South Paterson Street.

Why doesn't MWU move everything to its Olin Avenue location?

This option has not been completely ruled out. However, moving all of our operations to our Olin Avenue site would require the addition of 3-4 acres of property at the Olin site. This additional property is currently unavailable from either Dane County or from the transfer station to the west. Any property acquisition there would also be very likely to require mitigation of an existing landfill.

Why does MWU want to stay in this location?

This centralized location provides a significant logistical advantage in responding to customer complaints and system maintenance requirements. Most of the oldest parts of the water system are located on the Isthmus and require frequent attention.

Will the facility be designed as a “green” facility?

MWU and the architect will work closely with the neighborhood and the CAP to ensure that the building is environmentally friendly meets the sustainability goals of the City.

Will we have an opportunity to weigh in on the look and configuration of the new Ops Cetner?

MWU will host a series of public meetings and post information on this project web page to solicit input from interested citizens to shape the project. If you are interested in participating, please contact us at

How long will it take to build?

Construction is expected to take a year to complete.

What will the new facility look like?

The architect will develop architectural renderings of the building for public comment and feedback. It is our intent to design and construct a building that fits into the neighborhood.

How much will it cost?

MWU has budgeted about $6,500,000 for construction. We are still looking at several different options for reconstruction which vary in vost.

Will my water rates go up as a result of this project?

MWU develops a Capital Improvement Program (CIP) annually to update existing facilities, construct additional facilities, and renew our infrastructure. Water rates pay for the CIP and all rate payers will contribute equally to this project. MWU routinely reviews rates and works through the Wisconsin Public Service Commission to establish equitable rates based on the utility’s financial needs. Water rates are expected to rise as necessary to cover the cost of the overall CIP.

When will construction start?

The hope is to be under construction in the fall of 2014.

Once this facility is constructed will there be a lot of additional traffic around the area?

There will not be an increase in traffic due to the completion of this project.


Additional photo of existing facility:

Operations Center


Vehicle Storage Building:

Vehicle Storage Building



Lots of great questions and input during our first public meeting, which was held at the Operations Center at 110 South Paterson Street on November 18, 2013. Community members got a chance to tour the aging facility as well as the site across the street where the Ops Center will be relocated.

Community members tour aging ops center

Also mentioned by some at the meeting was the 2004 East Rail Corridor Plan and Recommendations report, which emphasizes economic development and job creation for the area.

Detailed minutes, 11/18/2013 initial public meeting