From subsea to high-rise: Plano-Coudon embarks on unique projects
While every construction project involves its own unique set of challenges, some projects stand out due to their extraordinary features or special requirements. Plano-Coudon Construction is proud to be involved in two projects currently that will require our people and our subcontractors to meet a distinctive set of challenges and deliver two unique products.
In early October, crews began work on a total gut renovation of a 14-story, 110,000-sf residence hall on the campus of Towson University.
In addition to completely replacing the building’s interiors and installing all new electrical, mechanical, plumbing, sprinkler, elevator and IT systems, crews will make several, large structural changes to the concrete, cast-in-place high rise.
In four places, crews will extend the building’s footprint. Shaped roughly like a four-leaf clover, the building consists of quads that connect to a center core. Crews will bump out a portion of each quad in order to add square footage and an architectural feature that includes window walls which echo the design of other campus buildings.
Crews will remove portions of the first and second floors, reinforce structural columns and install two-story curtain walls to create an inviting, two-story entry space.
In addition to installing all new windows and a new roof, crews will completely re-skin the building by coating the exterior shell with a fresh air barrier, layering on rock wool and installing an Equitone facade – large, fiber-cement panels from Germany that will give the building a modern look and color scheme.
The project which must be completed in 14 months, also involves a unique challenge.
“There is an antennae system on top of that building, on top of the elevator penthouse,” said Thomas Koch, Project Manager at Plano-Coudon. “It operates Maryland State Police radios, a 911 call center, emergency communications for Baltimore County and Towson University. That antennae system cannot go down.”
Consequently, Plano-Coudon is planning to install temporary power to support the system and carefully coordinate with emergency response officials to ensure there is no interruption in service.
National Aquarium Care & Rescue Center
In a former printing plant, Plano-Coudon Construction is about to create a refuge for sharks, fish, reptiles, exotic birds and the occasional poisonous frog.
For years, the National Aquarium has maintained a secondary facility in Fells Point to support animal care and provide storage, office and other work space. As the end of the lease on that facility neared, however, the aquarium acquired an industrial building near the Shot Tower and contracted Plano-Coudon to handle its transformation into a marine facility.
“The innovative design calls for the creation of multiple, customized holding facilities to house and quarantine various species, including 40-foot round tanks for sharks,” said Craig Pool, Project Manager at Plano-Coudon. “There will be tanks holding different types and temperatures of salt water, bird enclosures and a sealed reptile room that will be equipped with specialty alarms and a venom kit in case someone gets bit by a poisonous frog or snake.”
Meanwhile, elaborate lighting systems will mimic the daytime and nighttime lighting conditions in the animals’ natural habitats.
The facility will include offices, a newly created mezzanine and public space for ‘behind the scenes’ tours of National Aquarium operations. Since Aquarium staff fabricate artificial coral and many other elements for their displays, the building will also include a woodworking shop, fiberglass shop, paint booth and other facilities for craftsmen.
Consequently, the 12-month, complete-gut renovation will include a few challenges, Pool said. Crews will be installing sophisticated air-handling equipment to maintain proper temperature and humidity levels, and contain dust from the workshops. The project will utilize some specialty materials, such as fiberglass-reinforced concrete, to resist corrosion. It will also involve removing and replacing the concrete floor to ensure the new floor is precisely sloped to drain properly.