New Dollar General Employee Hub Incorporates Unique Precast Concrete Elements and Aims to Reduce Employee Turnover

The Dollar General Employee Hub in Bessemer, AL. The unique warehouse facility incorporates precast concrete elements including 450 load-bearing architectural precast panels.

The Dollar General project received a PCI Design Award for Best Warehouse/Storage/Distribution Center Facility. The award is presented by the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI).

Executives at Dollar General wanted their new Distribution Center’s Employee Hub in Bessemer, AL to do more than simply provide storage and organize shipments. While business was booming, employee retention was dropping. To counter this unwelcome trend, the company’s design brief for the new building emphasized employee safety, wellness and comfort. To help carry out their vision, project designers used architectural precast concrete panels and incorporated a unique pattern to represent what the employees do.

Metromont Corporation was the precast partner for this project. Metromont is in Hiram, GA and is a producer member of the Mid-Atlantic Precast Association (MAPA).

PROJECT OVERVIEW

Leo A. Daly served as the architect for the Dollar General project. Spokesperson Bill Baxley explained, “We looked beyond basic white to find a way to brand the facility. Precast concrete helped us do that. The panels were designed to be load-bearing walls that resist in-plane wind and seismic loads while providing a distinctive look.”

Adjacent to the 969,000-square foot warehouse, the Employee Hub includes locker rooms, restrooms, a large vending area, 20 glass-fronted commercial-grade refrigerators, a 600-person cafeteria/break room and an elevated sky bridge. The break room was oriented to take advantage of southern light through its diffused wall, while its glazed ends provide perspective on the docking operations.

PRECAST VALUE

Project materials were chosen to emphasize a connection to trucks and transportation, and that included the precast concrete panels. Metromont created a custom formliner replicating an enlarged tire-tread pattern that could be embedded into each precast panel. The formliner created a distinctive appearance and was reusable, helping to reduce costs.

“The formliner allowed endless design possibilities that weren’t possible with…

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