A Century of Service in West Texas

From the booming economies of Midland and Odessa to the beauty of Big Bend National Park, West Texas is as versatile as it is vast. It boasts a diverse economy rooted in oil and gas, agriculture, energy, manufacturing, technology, and more. According to the Texas Economic Development Corporation, West Texas is in the midst of an economic boom as companies flock to its cities. The growth presents both an opportunity and a challenge. This is nothing new for Freese and Nichols. For more than a century, we’ve been helping West Texas navigate growth and provide the infrastructure it needs to continue thriving.

A Century of Service

Major John Hawley

Our involvement in helping build critical infrastructure in West Texas began in 1916 when Major John Hawley, our company’s founder, began designing an activated sludge plant in San Angelo. He later helped the City of Amarillo with multiple public works improvements, including the design of a 9-foot diameter sewer to divert runoff from downtown to the Canadian River.

In 1946, Simon Freese helped find and secure a water supply to serve West Texas, specifically Big Spring to Odessa and to help the agricultural and oil industries to prosper. This led to the formation of the Colorado River Municipal Water District – still a client of ours today – and construction of Lakes Thomas, Spence, and Ivie. Our service to West Texas has continued in decades since then.

To celebrate the completion of the Amarillo storm sewer, the project team held a banquet inside the outfall on Oct. 14, 1927. Seated second from right is acting city engineer Marvin Nichols, who joined our firm soon afterward.

Today, we work with clients across West Texas to help them make decisions on infrastructure needs and investments. From our Lubbock office, we serve a vast area that extends into the Panhandle and New Mexico.

“We are thrilled to have the ability as a firm to not only address our clients’ current and day to day needs but also to help them with long range and specialized planning,” said Group Manger Heather Keister, one of many native West Texans in our Lubbock office. “It is a rewarding experience to work closely with our clients to help them address their infrastructure needs.”

Lubbock Office Coverage Area

Historical Highlights

  • 1934 – Municipal gas system for Lubbock
  • 1939 – Water system and treatment plant improvements in San Angelo
  • 1942 – Pantex Army Ordnance Plant in Amarillo
  • 1946-49 – Designed a major expansion to Amarillo’s artesian well field.
  • 1950s – 60s – Post-war improvements to water and sewer systems across West Texas
  • 1970 – Canyon Lakes System in Lubbock
  • 1987 – OH Ivie Water Supply System
  • 1993 – Lake Alan Henry Reservoir and Dam
  • 2012 – Ward County Transmission System
  • 2013 – CRMWD Raw Water Production Facility in Big Spring
  • 2016 – Lubbock Comprehensive Plan

Making a Difference, One Project at a Time

City of Andrews

Andrews, north of Odessa, has long been defined by periods of economic boom and bust, a pattern experienced by West Texas cities with a strong oil and gas industry presence. During a boom, the area experiences population growth and an increase in residential and business activity. The development pressures experienced by the City, as well as the forward-thinking nature of the community, led to the development of the 2013 Comprehensive Plan, which focused on three key areas: Future Land Use, Transportation and Livability.

To support the Comprehensive Plan, Freese and Nichols later conducted an Infrastructure Master Plan for the City, in participation with the Andrews Economic Development Corporation (AEDC), for the city to evaluate water, wastewater, and stormwater system needs that would help the City continue to grow.

Freese and Nichols is currently working in collaboration with the AEDC on the City’s Southwest Business Park. We are providing services for platting and design of a new industrial park facility, which includes extending roadways and water and sewer infrastructure.

City of Canyon

Freese and Nichols has helped the City of Canyon with several important planning efforts over the past six years, beginning with a Comprehensive Plan, updates to the Zoning and Subdivision Regulations, and a Downtown Master Plan. We are currently working with the City of Canyon to develop a Capital Recovery Fee Program. The City is situated adjacent to Caprock Canyon. Development has occurred to the limit of what the existing infrastructure can supply. The City faces a unique challenge as it looks to serve additional development across the topographic relief. To serve those areas, major infrastructure investments will be required. Freese and Nichols is helping the City to analyze the costs of those needed investments in order to inform the system expansion needs.

City of Levelland

The City of Levelland, west of Lubbock, needed a plan for infrastructure investments and wanted assistance with the prioritization of those efforts. Freese and Nichols helped the City to develop an Infrastructure Master Plan to give current and future City leaders a high-level view of the City’s infrastructure needs and priorities.

The plan included a detailed pavement condition analysis for all roadways. We analyzed the pavement condition data across the entire City and developed prioritized capital and maintenance needs.

This plan also included water, wastewater, stormwater, and facility planning efforts. We developed a Capital Improvements Plan (CIP) for capital needs and recommended best practice maintenance programs for the City’s consideration in every area.

City of Lubbock

The City of Lubbock and Freese and Nichols have worked together for close to one hundred years on numerous projects, beginning in 1924 with the City’s first treatment plant.

We have been pleased to play a part in many of the City’s recent important planning efforts. One of the most ambitious was the development of a new Comprehensive Plan for the City, the first since 1984. Led by a 35-person Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee (CPAC), the process placed a heavy emphasis on public engagement in the form of meetings, online surveys, social media, and meeting tool kits. The first phase of the project included the development of an interim Future Land Use Plan to help City staff make informed development decisions. The Future Land Use Plan was re-adopted with approval of the final Comprehensive Plan. The Comprehensive Plan incorporated the Water and Wastewater Master Plans, the Stormwater Master Plan and the Thoroughfare Plan. Staff and City leaders now have a clear roadmap with implementation actions to make Lubbock an even better community in which to live and work.

Read more: Lubbock Comprehensive Plan Embraces Collaboration for Fully Connected Response to Growth

Lubbock’s rapid growth has necessitated improvements to and expansion of its water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure systems. Freese and Nichols helped Lubbock meet its long-term growth demands by developing Water, Wastewater, and Stormwater Master Plans. We provided a diverse range of services, including population, land use and water demand projections, future systems analysis, existing systems and operation analysis, stormwater management, water quality analysis, hydraulic water and wastewater model development using GIS integration, regulatory compliance and evaluation, and more.

Freese and Nichols is currently working with Lubbock to update the City’s 2017 Water Master Plan. Due to continued growth, the City is evaluating additional potential capital improvements, along with verifying the sizing of existing planned projects.

Looking Ahead

For Freese and Nichols, being a part of the West Texas community is a tremendous honor and opportunity to make a positive impact on you, the clients that we serve.

“No project is too big or too small for Freese and Nichols to tackle,” Heather said. “We can tailor and customize our staff to fit the needs of a project and pull additional resources from our 1,000+ member staff. We are unique in that we have the understanding of a small, local firm, but we have the size and national-level expertise to complete the project.”