The Principia School, located in Town & Country, Missouri, is an independent, coeducational college-preparatory school offering innovative programs for Early Childhood through grade 12. The school places special emphasis on its athletic activities with 100% of the student population involved in sports programs.
To better cater to their students’ needs, The Principia School embarked on the construction of a new athletic complex with surrounding fields. The new facility replaces Carey Field House, which having been built in 1954 at the school’s campus inception, had become obsolete and presented ongoing safety and structural issues.
This new high-performance athletic complex, named after beloved coach Bill Simon, includes a cutting-edge fitness and performance center, competition gymnasium, a premium indoor track, spacious locker rooms, and a character education lab where students, athletes, and coaches can gather to focus on character development and work on team-building activities.
The state-of-the-art indoor space and surrounding sports fields will not only serve the school’s students and teams but will allow Principia to attract local athletes and teams to train and compete on the Principia School campus.
Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing, Fire Protection
Sustainability was of utmost importance to Principia and McClure Engineering’s designs helped our client in achieving this goal. In total, the use of these initiatives had a savings of 1,927,332 kWhs of electricity, a 68% savings compared to the baseline system, and a savings of 1,622,661 MBH of natural gas, a 46% savings compared to the baseline system. In total, the systems installed had a 60% savings compared to a baseline system, significantly higher than the average modern Field House. Additionally, based upon the energy reduction opportunities developed in this facility the carbon footprint of this building was reduced by 59%, removing 937 tons of carbon emissions per year as compared to a typical facility that is built today.
Initiatives that helped reach this remarkable amount of savings included:
- We identified an opportunity for Principia to save on first costs in terms of a cooling system. We were able to engineer one system to cool both the new field house and the adjacent boys’ dormitory. Additionally, we built a more efficient plant to move energy between the dorm and the field house which had the added bonus of saving on maintenance costs as well.
- Air handling systems which were configured to provide superior energy efficiency by reducing the cost to deliver fresh, conditioned air to the gymnasium spaces. The dual coil design permits humidity control without unnecessary reheat delivering superior energy performance. When outside conditions permit, these units utilize outdoor air for cooling and ventilation rather than mechanical cooling.
- Make-up air delivered from the locker rooms comes from the adjacent ventilation systems, reducing the amount of wasted outdoor air that must be conditioned in the summer and winter seasons. Drawing excess building ventilation air through the locker rooms increases airflow in these spaces, improving environmental conditions.
- Air Handling Units (AHUs) and other equipment are designed to operate at a low velocity and minimal pressure losses to reduce the amount of fan energy required to move air through the building. Central air handling systems fans represent one of the largest consumers of electrical energy in most commercial buildings.
- Heating is supplied by high-efficiency boilers, which produce low-temperature hot water for building services – significantly reducing the amount of heating energy used by the building.
This project had the added challenge of being designed and built during the start of the Covid Pandemic. As such, it was important to design a facility that would promote the continued health and wellness of Principia’s students.
Because the supply of outdoor air is paramount to creating safe environments, this facility provides superior ventilation year-round. Furthermore, when the outdoor air conditions permit, the amount of ventilation air supplied increases – further improving the quality of air in the space. The building’s air handling systems utilize high-efficiency filtration to remove particles from the building and the performance levels of the filtration are comparable to non-surgical areas of most healthcare facilities. Higher airflow rates were implemented in locker rooms to promote healthier locker rooms and touchless faucets in public restrooms are designed to help lower the spread of germs. Domestic hot water storage tanks that store water at temperatures to kill bacteria such as legionella were installed and high-temperature hot water is utilized in the Laundry system to improve sanitation and the possibility of virus and bacteria transmission through uniforms and other athletic equipment.
Near the end of the project, McClure Engineering and its partners got the okay from Principia to add the ability to incorporate a photovoltaic system that would accommodate solar power later and increase energy savings further. While the approval came late in construction, we were able to modify our plan and make the necessary infrastructure happen. Our electrical and mechanical teams worked together to move things around and create enough space.
Zoned paging and background music systems were installed throughout the facility, including integration with local independent systems serving specific areas. Multiple network music players were provided to allow dedicated music sources to be freely assigned to different areas of the facility, along with the ability to control streaming sources wirelessly. “Page privacy” audio mute were incorporated into local control panels of spaces with dedicated audio-visual systems to prevent voice-pages from interrupting important events while proving an emergency page override ability. The system was programmed to mute all speakers upon alarm condition from the fire alarm voice evacuation system.
Independent sound and audio-visual systems were installed in the Performance Gym, 3-Court Gym, Wrestling, Fitness, Conference, and Classrooms. Excellent full range powered and passive loudspeakers were installed for all systems. Scoreboards with locker room game clocks were also integrated into gym systems.
Video monitors were installed in local systems with video decoders to allow audio-visual streams over the network, along with local wired inputs including HDMI signals and owner-provided wireless audio-visual sources including Apple TVs. Local touch panels were programmed to switch and control levels of sources and switch audio-visual sources on local video displays.
Conference and classrooms include distributed audio-visual data jacks to allow presentation displays and video conferencing equipment to interface with the local room audio-visual system. Touch panel control panels were included for audio source selection and local volume control, along with assigning audio-visual streams between active encoders and decoders.
As a zoned residential area, it was essential to “keep the country in Town & Country”. This required a fair amount of planning in regard to the exterior, parking, and pedestrian lighting for the facility in order to keep the area relatively dark while still providing a safe environment for students and guests.
While our lighting team would normally design taller poles with a higher output for facilities of this nature, to adhere to the stricter guidelines of this residential area, a larger quantity of shorter poles (22’ at the highest) was chosen. Testing was done to ensure no lighting would spill out of the specified area.
In addition to this, dimming would be an integral element to keep the exterior lighting at a minimum in order to adhere to the residential codes as well as to ensure energy conservation. (LED lighting was installed throughout the facility which reduces energy use to approximately half of that required by fluorescent lighting, increasing energy savings further.) Site lighting is dimmed one hour after the close of business (or no later than midnight) and parking areas are dimmed to 50% at midnight. Facial recognition was implemented on the pedestrian paths to ensure proper lighting for safety while still ensuring the lighting was kept at a minimum when it was not needed. Additionally, all architectural lighting is turned off by midnight.
Dimming is streamlined through the digital lighting control system which lives on the IT network so facilities management can log into the system (via VPN if they are at home) and set a special schedule or override the current schedule. This is particularly useful when there is a special event at the school.
The gymnasium boasts a high-end wood floor, and it was important to keep it in prime condition. This posed a problem as a forklift would need to be driven in to change the batteries in the light fixtures. This issue was solved by installing a few larger batteries on the ground floor in the mechanical room to replace what would have been at least 80 smaller batteries at a height of about 30 ft.
The gyms have light fixtures that are seamlessly integrated with the fans which have motion sensors so energy can be saved when no one is in the room. This is a single instance where two different systems are linked together. Throughout the rest of the facility, lighting, audio-visual, shades, basketball hoop controls, etc. are all on independent control systems to make troubleshooting any issues more straightforward.
Commissioning services involved our agents working in conjunction with the construction team to aid in the delivery of a fully functional project through systematic inspection and service testing prior to the turn-over to Principia. The contributions of the Commissioning Agent (CxA) included verification of the installation and performance of the identified building systems, participation in the start-up and operational check-out of these systems, and finally, participation in the training of the facilities staff as to the intended operation of these systems to help ensure that they continue to function as intended through the life of the building.
Systems commissioned included the Air Handling Units, the Air Terminal Units, the Chiller Water System, the Heating Water System, and the Lighting Control System.