By Brent Dammann, AIA, VP - Architect March 30, 2021
Widseth's Digi-Key Electronics Product Distribution Center Expansion project recently received an American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) of Minnesota Grand Award. Check out ACEC/MN's digital publication of Framework to see all the winners.
As one of the largest electronic component distributors in the world, Digi-Key Electronics’ rapid growth created a need for more efficient space. Widseth designed the 2.2-million-square-foot product distribution expansion to house the millions of products stored and readily available for same-day shipping. Widseth’s comprehensive team—engineers, architects, environmental scientists, land surveyors, and aerial mapping specialists—worked with Digi-Key to develop a facility that can evolve to new technologies and systems.
Widseth’s team tackled all manner of challenges throughout planning, design, and construction: “super flat” floors, some of the largest air rotation units produced in the United States, roofing during northwest Minnesota’s brutal winter weather, an eight-generator back-up system for the facility and a back-up plan for the back-ups, fire suppression reservoir, a structural system to maintain open area for a 1-million-square-foot footprint, and accommodating a four-story distribution operation connected by a maze of conveyors, fastboxes, and lifts.
Digi-Key is part of the fabric of the Thief River Falls community. While this international company could have built this distribution center nearly anywhere in the world, they stayed with their flagship site, where this still-family-owned business began. Digi-Key is committed to Thief River Falls, and the community embraces Digi-Key. With an investment value of more than $400 million, the expansion can accommodate 3,400 employees, and Digi-Key anticipates adding at least 100 new employees each year for the next 10 years. The new expansion is expected to contribute an additional $500 million in economic output.