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story.lead_photo.caption The Wal-Mart home office in Bentonville is pictured in this January 2017 file photo. - Photo by Michael Woods

BENTONVILLE -- The city and Wal-Mart will share the cost of a new substation to accommodate the expansion of the David Glass Technology Center and growth in the city's east side.

Wal-Mart plans to expand the center's server area, requiring a substation capable of providing additional electricity, according to Travis Matlock, city engineering director.

Technology Center

The David Glass Technology Center is home to Wal-Mart’s Information Systems Division. It’s at 805 Moberly Lane.

Source: Staff report

The estimated cost of the substation is $9 million and will be split evenly between the city and Wal-Mart.

The substation will be built on Phyllis Street between Hank's Fine Furniture and Value Place Hotel and be known as Substation J, he said.

The substation also will provide back-up capabilities for the center, Matlock said, adding the city isn't at power capacity for its non-Wal-Mart customers.

The city could serve all its customers with its current substations once the Technology Center expansion is finished, but it wouldn't be able to back it up or switch power to another substation if there were an emergency or for maintenance, he explained.

"We're not in a power crunch," he said. "We don't have any issues over there."

The City Council approved a developer's agreement with Wal-Mart at its meeting Tuesday.

There's been talk about adding another substation for about three years, Mayor Bob McCaslin said earlier in the week. The Technology Center continues to have power needs, he said.

"They just need reliable redundancy," he said, later adding, "It's a benefit to us long term."

The additional substation also will handle development in the city's northeast, Matlock said.

The city has nine substations. Substation I is the newest and was finished in 2013. It was needed to accommodate expansion in the city's southwest, he said.

Most cities in Northwest Arkansas don't provide their own electrical services as Bentonville does, but residents receive their power from companies such as Swepco, Ozarks Electric Cooperative or Carroll Electric Cooperative.

Siloam Springs provides power and has four substations, none of which were paid for in partnership with another business or organization, according to Holland Hayden, city communications manager.

Phone messages left with a Wal-Mart communications employee and a submission through its media request website weren't returned before deadline Friday.

This isn't the first time the company has partnered with the city on an infrastructure project.

Wal-Mart has pledged at least $12.5 million toward the more than $70 million it will cost to widen Eighth Street from Interstate 49 to Southwest I Street. The road improvements will provide Wal-Mart employees direct access from the interstate to Wal-Mart's Home Office.

NW News on 04/02/2017

Print Headline: City, Wal-Mart partner for electric power

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