Headquarters Building Improvements

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The old unit is removed and the 'pit' is cleaned out. Cutting away part of the concrete wall to the pit. A 'collar' is constructed to hold the new unit up from the floor and away from the walls of the pit for better air flow.
The new unit is raised from the GSA parking lot. Flying the unit to its new rooftop location. Lowering the unit into place.
The crew settles the unit into position. Tom Latta, GSA Facilities Manager, inspects a job well done. The new air conditioning unit is invisible on top of the GSA headquarters building.

The 30-year old air conditioner that served the original wing of GSA headquarters has required many expensive repairs in the past few years to keep it running. The original design had a problem in that, in order to prevent the roof-mounted unit from being seen from the street, it was put into a pit and the unit was starved for air.

Our challenge was to correct the original design flaw without marring the beauty of the headquarters building. To let the new unit "breathe" better, a good portion of a concrete wall had to be cut and removed, and the unit lifted up and away from the remaining pit walls.

The 37-horsepower saw used to cut the 8" concrete wall was hydraulically driven and sported a 30" blade. When sawing was complete, a 70-ton crane lifted the concrete slabs off of the roof along with the old air conditioner.

Most of the work was done over a weekend due to safety issues, and because the building was to be without cooling and air flow during the installation. The roofing crew was given an entire day to rip off the old roof material around the unit and reconfigure the roof with better drainage to prevent recurring leaks in the hallway outside of the Executive Director's office.

The new Lennox 40-ton (cooling capacity) air conditioning unit was craned into place the next day. The new unit is a svelte 6,500 pounds, as compared to the old unit of similar dimensions that weighed 11,000 pounds.

The next few days were spent working bugs out of the operation of the new system, and sealing the roof. The new system was working well in time for the May Council meeting.

In the next few weeks, Phase II of renovations will begin. The second phase will focus on bringing the original wing of headquarters up to current building code, and making numerous improvements that will improve energy efficiencies and as enhance appearance of the building interior.

Photos by Kay Dragon.