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Since the 1940s when the garden was first conceived, through the master planning that occurred in the late 1960s and construction that was completed in 1980, the San Antonio Botanical Garden has been a gem in our community. Situated on a 38-acre site, the Center serves as a living museum of native and imported plant life for visitors to appreciate, learn from and enjoy. Since 1980, the Center has continued to evolve and in 2019 transitioned from a city-operated entity to a private nonprofit organization. This project is Phase II of the San Antonio Botanical Gardens multi-year expansion and upgrade project which included a new Administration building as well as a start of the art Betty Kelso Center. The Betty Kelso Center is Botanical Gardens new Event Center capable of hosting up to 250 guests in a banquet setting or 350 quests in a lecture setting. With over 300 LED light fixtures, the Betty Kelso Center is equipped with the latest in lighting controls technology, featuring a state-of-the-art touch screen lighting control system, allowing for pre-programmed scenes to accommodate a variety of needs.

Central Electric was excited being part of this iconic project in our inner city. Originally, Central Electric founder, Fred Martinez, installed site lighting and worked on the existing arboretum in the late 80’s. Then, in 2015, Chris Martinez, President of Central Electric, participated on the past CoSA bond committee that helped provide funding for the expansion and improvement of the campus. Chris Martinez said, “it is always a great pleasure to have our team change the landscape of San Antonio from a project our Dad worked on many years ago!”


The San Antonio Botanical Center selected Kopplow Construction to serve as the Prime Contractor to construct the project. As part of the Kopplow team, Central Electric was subcontracted to perform electrical construction services. Central Electric’s Project Manager reviewed the project plan drawings and specifications, including specialized building and construction requirements to ensure compliance with all aspects of the installation. To meet the aggressive completion milestones, Central Electric developed its pre-fabrication and delivery schedule to reduce on-site installation time to the greatest extent possible. Due to the fact that 80% of the fixtures and devices were installed in areas that would be inaccessible for service once construction was complete, the plan required extensive coordination between trades and divisions of work to ensure sequencing and scheduling for installation and pre-fabrication of installed components. Another critical cornerstone to Central Electric’s approach for the project includes adherence to strict Safety Policies at the corporate/organizational level down to the specific project level job hazard analysis and measures to ensure safety for all aspects of work performed.

Electrical Scope of Work

Central Electric was subcontracted by Kopplow Construction to perform  electrical construction services including:

  • Mobilization

  • Branch Conduit and Boxes

  • Branch Wiring

  • Feeder Conduit

  • Feeder Wiring

  • Distribution/Gear Installation

  • Fixture Installation and Trim Out

  • Low Voltage Rough-In

  • Demolition

  • Gear Distribution Package

  • Light Fixture Package

  • Fire Alarm Package 

  • Underground Site Work

Through Central Electric’s dedication to incorporate project management best practices in its approach, it was able to complete the project with zero safety incidents, no added days for the project’s duration and on budget. Furthermore, Central Electric was part of a key project in the quality of life of residents in San Antonio who enjoy the tranquility and beauty that the Botanical Center provides. Through the completion of this project, the San Antonio Botanical Center and the Betty Kelso Center can now be enjoyed by the local residents and visitors from across the United States. As the needs of the San Antonio Botanical Center continue to evolve over time, Central Electric is hoping to continue working on further expansion projects, perhaps with the next generation of the Central Electric team.

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