Mars Petcare Global Innovation Center
Thompson Station, Tennessee
The Mars Petcare Global Innovation Center, located in Thompson’s Station, TN, was designed to create A Better World for Pets™. Only the third facility of its kind in the world, the new campus, comprised of four buildings along with dog and cat testing space, serves as Mars Petcare’s Global Center for Excellence for dry cat and dog food. Opened in 2014, the state-of-the-art LEED Gold® was a replacement facility for the company’s Kansas City space after the division’s headquarters relocated to nearby Franklin, TN.
Each building on the Global Innovation Center campus serves a specific purpose in the life-cycle of pet food innovation for Mars Petcare. The 40,000 SF Quality & Innovation Center houses research and development associates working in an office setting, in addition to a state-of-the-art microbiological and analytical laboratory. New technologies and products are developed and produced on a small scale at the 56,000 SF Product Development Center before full-scale production is implemented throughout the company’s manufacturing network. The 28,500 SF Pet Feeding Center is where over 200 cats and dogs live. It has unique circular kennels where dogs live in pairs, as well as indoor/outdoor play areas for resident dogs and cats. The 10,000 SF Learning Center features an interactive learning environment and Mars history museum for guests.
The project was unlike anything previously seen at SSR and the internal project team spent hours conducting research on best practices to ensure the facility operated a peak efficiency. Designing the engineering systems presented some unique challenges for those involved. To help achieve LEED certification, a goal of the owners, energy wheels were included in the HVAC systems. These repurposed exhaust air, allowing the facility to recover energy while regulating the temperature in the different buildings and kennel areas.
As a replacement facility, the project had a tight timeline, the date for moving employees and equipment was firm. SSR was able to meet this timeline through a quick, but efficient, design period. The project opened without delay and to the satisfaction of all parties involved. The new campus helped to spur economic development in a growing area of Middle Tennessee by bringing nearly 150 jobs to the area.