St. Paul’s School – Ward Center

Heating, Ventilating, Air Conditioning, and Plumbing System

St. Paul’s School Ward Center renovation project involved construction of an existing 35,000 sq. ft. Educational, Performance and Food Service Building. Mechanical Engineering & Construction Corporation (MEC²) was the contractor responsible for the mechanical system installation and performed the general construction and electrical construction requirements.

Construction was an intense coordination process with the St. Paul’s School, Gipe Associates Consulting Engineers, and our sub-contractors to renovate a state-of-the-art teaching and performance facility that maintained site cleanliness, safety and environmentally-friendly impacts to the existing area.

The project’s scope consisted of a systemic renovation of the HVAC system. The existing boilers in the building were upgraded with (2) high efficient 1.5 million BTU boilers, including new stainless steel flues, pumping systems, chemical treatment systems and new piping distribution systems to the new air handlers installed. The project included replacing room HVAC units with new air handlers designed to maintain appropriate temperature control and also dehumidification control to maintain moisture levels in the spaces. The project includes replacement of the cooling systems for the areas including new air-cooled split systems; the total cooling capacity replaced was approximately 125 tons. The HVAC system provides year-round temperature and ventilation that meets or exceeds all applicable code and industry standards as defined by the ASHRAE. The system is equipped with a free cooling economizer for ventilation air (when no mechanical cooling is required). The overall HVAC system serving the building is monitored and controlled by a direct digital computer-based control system which coordinates the function of all mechanical components to assure economical and reliable operation. The system may be monitored within the building and remotely on campus for equipment alarms or operating criteria outside of pre-set levels.

MEC² provided a complete turn-key installation including the HVAC, electrical and lighting systems, and the general construction requirements of building mechanical rooms in teaching areas that house the new HVAC systems and ceiling replacement in the spaces that upgrade the look, as well as the feel that a premier institute of learning requires.

Challenges to this $1.5 million undertaking included the construction effort of building and sequencing multiple sub-contractors in tight spaces for a short time period. The window for renovation was in the school’s off-time. Therefore, as the school year came to a close, the forces at MEC² geared up for action. To overcome these challenges, the project was split into parts and attacked simultaneously; basically cutting the project into very specific pieces to keep each sub-contractor and our self-performing forces on task and on schedule. Communication was a key focus and the task-oriented approach kept the work straight forward – the idea was to make a difficult project simplistic in its individual parts. The approach worked smoothly as the School gave MEC² an option to complete the teaching areas in one summer and return to complete the food service area in the next summer. MEC² completed both tasks in one Summer schedule.

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