Green maintenance facility for Merion

Sean Dudley

The historic Merion Golf Club in Philadelphia, which hosted last year’s Walker Cup and is gearing up for its fifth US Open in 2013, is building a new Operations and Turf Maintenance Centre to replace its existing maintenance facility.

The 24,000 sq ft building, designed to be as sustainable as possible, will serve both of Merion’s courses and a 12,000 sq ft green roof, water recycling systems, and a waste oil fired boiler for heating.

The centre is planned for a site north of the existing clubhouse and will be a complex of single story buildings planned around a service courtyard. One building will house offices and support spaces for the club’s director of golf operations and his staff, a dormitory for Merion's famous intern training programme, meeting space, food service, and locker rooms for the grounds crews and a state of the art equipment maintenance shop. A second building will serve as storage for maintenance equipment and specialised storage, mixing, and equipment space for chemical and fertiliser handling.

The operations and maintenance shop building will parallel the eighteenth fairway of the East Course but will be virtually invisible under the green roof, which will appear as an extension of the fescue grassed rough. Other green features include a closed system for recycling of water used for cleaning equipment and a closed mixing and recapture system protecting the fertiliser and chemical building that ensures total capture and containment of any spill and zero discharge into the environment. The energy source for the radiantly heated maintenance shop is a duel fired boiler that will reuse waste oil from both the maintenance equipment as well as waste cooking oil from the clubhouse kitchen. The air conditioning for the operations, office, crew and dormitory space will feature a high efficiency system with occupant sensitive controls.

The complex is being planned and designed by architect J Robertson Cox of the Master's Studio of West Chester, Pennsylvania, in association with Blackney Hayes Architects of Philadelphia. Cox is also the designer of the recently completed Halfway House for Merion's East Course, site of this year's Walker Cup Matches and the United States Open in 2013. Merion has selected Ehret Construction Company of Wilmington, Delaware as general contractor for the project which began construction after the 2009 Walker Cup matches.