FCA was retained by Merck in conjunction with Jones Lange LaSalle to update the master plan for their West Point, PA, campus. The property totals 390 acres where nearly 10,000 active employees operate in a dense pattern of 24 people per acre – a higher rate than downtown Philadelphia. West Point is one of 3 integrated facilities offering research, manufacturing, distribution, and commercialization operations. Revision of the plan included assessment of existing facility utilization and reserve capacity for growth. Prior to making physical recommendations, careful consideration was given to understanding Merck’s needs relative to quantity, quality, and suitability of space. The analysis included the existing distribution of programs and gaps that needed to be filled in response to future needs. A data-driven approach that tracked the location of each employee, arrival points, and the experiential conditions of their travel paths was a basis for revising the plan. Steps were outlined that would lead to the realization of untapped existing potential using existing infrastructure and buildings. Metrics were developed to better manage the allocation of capital resources in the planning and design process. For example, a comparative analysis of manufacturing product flow informed strategic planning recommendations regarding campus organization and circulation patterns.
Significant outcomes of the plan included the consolidation of research facilities as an opportunity for heightened integration. In addition to realignment and distribution of the program, the plan outlines key improvements to be made for traffic, access, circulation, and open spaces. The consensus was garnered around a four-point plan encompassing enough to have transformative effects with the needed simplicity for clarity:
- Transform West Point into a “Living Campus.”
- Consolidate future growth in the development framework with .5M SF (11.5 acres) of strategically located sites.
- Prioritize facility evolution and critical adjacencies with regard to product flow and research, and implement a phased plan realizing reserve capacity through organization, optimization, removal, and new construction.