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April 30, 2015

ABC Awards • Mechanical Construction

Photo from Air Systems Engineering
Interior ducts are made of fabric and suspended by stainless steel cables.

PLU swimming pool HVAC
Air Systems Engineering


Owner: Pacific Lutheran University

ABC members: Cornell Plumbing & Heating; Star Rentals


The Pacific Lutheran University swimming pool was closed for nine months after failed structural roof beams caused unsafe conditions. Once the roof beams were rebuilt, PLU discovered the root of the problem: high humidity caused by a failing 1965 HVAC system.

Air Systems Engineering did a design-build solution and the work was done in the summer of 2014.

The old system was costly to operate and some parts of it had failed, so the challenge was to fit new equipment in the existing space and develop a new distribution system.

Air Systems installed a 9,000-cubic-foot-per-minute DX dehumidification unit with heat recovery features to provide hot water to the pool, as well as custom features to insure the proper code-required amount of fresh air is delivered to the space. The unit was installed in the existing mechanical room with only inches of clearance.

The team also installed a new duct system connecting the mechanical room to the natatorium. A double-wall insulated duct with aluminum liner was made for the exterior application.

Inside the natatorium, crews installed a fabric duct hung by stainless steel cables. Outlets punched into the fabric were sized and spaced for proper air velocities, insuring that all glass surfaces around the perimeter are covered.

In addition, Air Systems replaced two locker room heating units and placed new duct work in the pool office. The team also sealed the relief openings used by the old displacement system to keep the new warm and dehumidified environment from leaking out.

Project challenges included a short construction schedule with long ordering lead times for many components, and working around other maintenance at the pool.

Interior pool ducting was finished in time for open swims and lessons in the summer. The rest was finished before fall classes began.

There were no injuries in 676.75 hours worked.





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