Beaver Dam Cold Storage: Design-Build of SQF Refrigeration and Freezer Storage


Beaver Dam Cold Storage
Beaver Dam, Wisconsin

When the Barnett Companies, an integrated transportation, logistics, and warehousing provider, was presented with an opportunity to support one of their premiere clients by providing freezer space, they embarked on a project to create the 126,300 sq. ft. Beaver Dam Cold Storage facility.

In order to ensure that the facility would be operational to coincide with the client’s storage needs, WDS Construction was commissioned to provide design-build construction services under a fast-track delivery schedule. A site in a new business park was selected, and the facility was planned and designed to accommodate future expansion to provide more than 250,000 sq. ft. of space.

The new building combines refrigeration and freezer space, with features that include:

  • Safe Quality Food Certification
  • 88,200 sq. ft. of -10 degree Fahrenheit freezer storage
  • 12,600 sq. ft. of 34-degree Fahrenheit cooler storage
  • 16,250 sq. ft. dock space featuring 8 shipping docks maintained at 17 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Site security including single access point and security shack
  • 9,250 sq. ft. of employee amenity spaces


The project team was challenged to deliver the project on schedule due to adverse weather conditions that negatively impacted construction operations. Furthermore, the project endured a five-week shutdown as the owner was finalizing project financing. Despite these delays, WDS Construction was able to deliver the completed project on the original deadline required to meet the client’s timeframe.

The building is steel framed with insulated metal wall panels and a TPO roof membrane. LED lighting was provided in all building areas.

Each of the cold storage cells has its own separate condenser/evaporator. The cooling system is freon-based, and redundancy is provided via two condensers per cell in case one goes down, allowing for temperatures to be maintained. Additionally, a back-up generator transfer switch was provided.

Top of product storage is 30 feet, and a Tyco QUELL cold storage fire protection system is utilized throughout the building.

As part of this project, WDS also renovated an existing freezer in another location to bring it back up to operating level. The freezer had not been in operation for several years due to problems in the glycol flooring system. To supply new underfloor glycol piping, WDS developed an intricate plan that required directional boring under the existing building in order to install new piping and return the freezer to operation, which was critical for Beaver Dam Cold Storage to meet their client’s urgent needs.

The Beaver Dam Cold Storage project was recognized with a Silver Project of Distinction Award from ABC Wisconsin.

Subsequently, WDS was commissioned to again provide design-build construction services in support of a 45,500 sq. ft. expansion to house a new cooler, freezer, and expanded cold dock with two additional loading positions. Once again, this project was driven by a tight schedule to finish the new space in order to meet tenant demand, but now working in an occupied building with ongoing operations.

“With significant growth, it was time to expand and there was no doubt who we were to call: WDS. We needed a building partner who was just as committed to the critical details as we were and, after working with WDS for our initial cold storage facility project, we knew we wanted them back for the expansion…Their experience, attention to detail, candid communication with our owner Team, commitment to quality, and focus on safety were crucial to our business’ growth and success.”

– Greg Barnett, Owner, Beaver Dam Cold Storage


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