Big team on campus, getting great grades

I just wanted to note my pleasure with your entire team! I would like to recognize key players John Van Hersett, Brian Hanson, Michael Coffey, Michael Curtright, Dustin Schmidt, Mark Klug, Scott Gideon, Kenny Sproul and the rest of the team that were out here for this repair. These people make it happen and have bent over backwards to ensure interruptions to instruction were minimized and that we were back in operation when planned. It makes our Facilities team look really good when we have top notch contractors leading the charge!” Barry Holldorf, Director of Facilities & Operations, Highline College

MacDonald-Miller began performance contracting work for Highline College in 2012 under the ESCO program run by the State of Washington, Department of Enterprise Services. Since then, we have been their energy services provider for many projects. Because of our partnership, extensive knowledge of their campus, and mechanical expertise, we helped our client secure emergency funds to achieve the best solution for a big problem.

While walking on campus between Buildings 23 and 21, surveying a location for a Magnum crane to  asetup and lift a chiller on Building 23’s roof, we noticed steam coming out of a vault access hatch. The hatch was opened, and we discovered it was full of 190-degree water. After pumping the water out and letting the vault cool for 3 days, we realized that 12 years of groundwater had been leaking into the vault with no previsions for draining or permanent pumping. This resulted in the insulation around the 10” heating water supply and return, as well as the 4” branch feeding heating water to Buildings 21 and 22, being corroded to the point of developing leaks.

Further complicating things, the heating water distribution mains were buried 16 ft below the concrete fire lanes running between the buildings on campus with power, natural gas, domestic water, sanitary sewer, storm water, telecom and fiber optics all above the heating water distribution supply and return lines. An engineering investigation was commissioned and our results were presented to Highline. The findings outlined options ranging from excavating down and repairing in-place to decoupling the buildings on the damaged distribution system and installing individual boilers to provide heating water to each building.

We presented the analysis to the college and they quickly chose to decouple from the main plant and its compromised heating water distribution system and install dedicated heating water boilers for the three buildings affected. The leaking distribution system was discovered on September 6th, 2017, Notice to Proceed (NTP) to investigate the system was given on September 17th, and the results of the investigation led to an in-depth engineering study and Investment Grade Audit (IGA) on October 18th. Findings were presented to the executive committee at the college on November 18th, 2017 with NTP for four new boilers arriving the next day. Given that the boiler installation process would result in heating water being shut off to nearly a third of the instructional space on campus, we scheduled our installation window for the winter break – Monday, December 20th through January 5th, 2018.

Our task was to install four new boilers in two locations. To achieve this, we needed to carve out space in three mechanical rooms for the new systems, construct interior and exterior equipment pads, reroute the heating water systems in the buildings to connect to new heating water condensing boilers, pipe two buildings together, and have it all running by the time classes began again on January 8th.

The key to this undertaking was teamwork. By January 8th, over 94 people at MacMiller touched this project. It took intensive planning with our teams to ensure we had all our bases covered, including coordination with our partner vendors (Johnson Borrow & Mechanical Sales), and working with the equipment providers to secure boiler manufacturing slots that would meet the installation window. PSE installed two new gas services in less than 30 days! Consistent communication, close coordination and partnership with our customer was instrumental to our success.

“I know that there were a lot more of your people on this and similar jobs around the campus that I have not yet had the chance to meet – so I want to recognize their contributions to getting the project done on time. We are truly grateful, and this once again reinforces my thoughts about having the right partners to make this place work!” – John Van Hersett, Building Performance Project Manager, MacDonald-Miller

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