In 1975 ARCO constructed its Prudhoe Bay Operations Center as an addition to the original operations center, which consisted of wood-framed structures assembled on site. The new PBOC provided four residential wings off of a recreational central building, all two stories tall, housing 224 people. At the same time, the original operations center converted all of its double rooms to single occupancy.
The new PBOC was prefabricated in modules in Tacoma, Washington, and barged to the site. Elevation from the ground prevented heat transference to the permafrost, provided access for the crawlers, and lessened wind action on the structures. The bottom edge of the modules was chamfered to funnel the wind. Steel trusses support a concrete deck, and the entire structure is enveloped by steel-clad urethane panels.
The central module is 70 feet by 190 feet by 40 feet high, providing an activities center with gymnasium, lounge areas, and auditorium. It also serves as a spine; the four residential modules run perpendicular to it. They are each 40 feet by 144 feet by 36 feet high, with two-room suites on a double-loaded corridor.
ARCO's philosophy, which produced a relatively spread-out complex, has changed recently. The cost of constructing gravel pads has induced it to build more compact facilities. The operations center will be moved and consolidated with the one at the Kuparuk oil field; the transportability of the structure is now proving to be one of its great advantages.