When PC Connection’s founders sought to build their corporate headquarters out of a distressed strip mall in Merrimack, NH, creating 500 new jobs and reusing acres of asphalt that had already been created, they called SMP. The million-dollar question: How do you fit a state-of-the-art high-tech corporation in a 900-foot-long commercial building that used to be divided up into 15 different entities? Can it be done?
SMP’s biggest challenge was fitting the many interacting departments of this corporation into a building plan that looked like a strip mall. Because the building was long and thin, there was no central hub for departments that had a lot of interaction with the rest of the company. For IT, this was a problem. They wanted to be right in the middle to optimize their cabling runs out to each of the hundreds and hundreds of desktops. But they were also very big, and needed Fort-Knox-style security, climate control, and extra fire protection—not what you want someone to wander through on their way to the lunchroom.
To address the challenges, SMP first dug into the cabling issue and showed that the computer room central-location-efficiency idea was not actually borne out by the facts. If you move the room off-center to the right, all the runs to the left get longer, but all the runs to the right get shorter. IT determined that they could actually set up anywhere for the same cost.
SMP gave the back of the building a makeover with new windows, and brought the public entry into the former grocery store, where we had the height and volume to create a dramatic lobby/conferencing center that also housed a mini-museum of the company’s history. The old open-air covered walk was enclosed and glazed, and became the main highway of the building. Scooters and even bicycles were sometimes seen making the trip from one end to the other.