North Tech Welding Lab Renovations

Special School District – St. Louis, Missouri

Project Background

With no major renovations since its original construction in the 1950s the North Tech Welding Lab was in notable need of updating due to aging and insufficient electrical infrastructure, exhaust needs, outdated lighting, and most notably a concern for the safety of its occupants.

Project Deliverables

The renovation needed to be implemented within a constrained time frame to ensure construction could take place during the school’s 3-month summer break so regular school sessions would not be interrupted. To accommodate this timeframe, McClure Engineering engaged local manufacturers during design to minimize equipment lead times. McClure Engineering also provided extensive Construction Administration time to address any issues in the field as they came up to avoid any project delays.

In addition to working with the Architect and Owner’s representative to ensure the constrained time frame could be met, McClure Engineering also worked closely with the end user to identify very specific needs (both present and future) for the space. Keeping in mind the need for versatility and an ever-changing technological curriculum, McClure Engineering not only engineered a design that was both practical and cost-effective but also very safety-conscious.

Providing a versatile and sufficient electrical infrastructure to accommodate the daily and future needs of a modern 16-booth educational/vocational Welding Lab while ensuring a safe environment for the students was of the utmost importance. Instead of providing an engineered design that only addresses a strict configuration of existing welders, a localized electrical distribution system with available expansion capabilities was provided for pairs of welding booths to allow for new welding equipment to be added in the future. To minimize taking up precious floor space (needed for other equipment and required clearances), the design utilized single column width 200A 3-phase 240V Delta rated panelboards mounted to Unistrut columns.

The welding booth exhaust system was completely replaced and upsized per code. A new make-up air unit was installed with gas heating to provide appropriate fresh air into the space while the welding booth system is in operation. The existing HVAC unit was re-utilized and operationally tied into the new exhaust system to optimize space conditioning and energy usage.

Lighting within the building was updated to LED fixtures for low energy consumption and the electrical distribution system was upgraded completely and designed for maximum flexibility of use for new and existing welding equipment while integrating specific safety features to ensure code compliance. McClure Engineering paid special attention to providing code-compliant and appropriate ventilation for the 16 welding booths that may or may not be in operation concurrently. Several different exhaust system solutions were looked at ranging from a single centralized exhaust fan that would exhaust all booths simultaneously to multiple fans that would operate groups of booths independent of one another. In the end, both cost and time led to a two-fan system that would operate independently from one another depending on booth usage. A rooftop fresh air unit with gas heat was added to provide sufficient fresh air and a control system was implemented that incorporated the existing HVAC unit.

Architect Of Record

Dickinson Hussman Architects

Construction Cost




Market Sector

K-12 Education

Year Completed




Our Services
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Phil Wentz, P.E.