Latimer Sommers & Associates, P.A.
3639 SW Summerfield Dr
Topeka, KS 66614
The project consisted of the removal of large domestic hot water storage tanks with integral steam shell and tube heat exchangers in five buildings on the Topeka VA Campus. The tanks were original to the construction of these buildings in the 1950’s. The large tanks were replaced with significantly smaller semi-instantaneous, steam heat, domestic water heaters. The campus 25 psi medium pressure steam system was utilized as the heating for the water heaters. The buildings’ existing domestic water softeners, 3-way mixing valves, and domestic hot water return pumps were incorporated into the piping design for the new heaters. LSA performed detailed on-site field work to determine how the heaters would fit in the building’s original mechanical rooms while maintaining proper maintenance clearances for the VA operating staff.
The Central Veterans Affairs (VA) set new requirements for compounding procedures which includes separating non-hazardous from hazardous operations. These projects, located in Topeka and Leavenworth, created a new clean room for the non-hazardous operation and added an anteroom. Air pressures levels were critical to maintain. A redundant air handling unit (AHU) and cooling system was also included.
This seven story hospital complex built in the 1970’s had premature failures and corrosion in the drain, waste and vent system that was taxing the maintenance staff. Replacing the entire system was the charge for LSA while keeping the hospital in operation during the retrofit. As one might imagine, the field documentation of existing systems and routing of piping was an immense task in itself as there was not a comprehensive or accurate accounting of the systems’ transformation over the years. Once completed, the design of the new system and its phasing to allow the existing system to remain functioning while pieces were replaced, tested and put into operation was the next step toward the goal. Selecting new riser locations or replacing existing was based on available space and the type of functions within each area. Eighty to ninety percent of the work in the building outside of the crawlspaces had to be performed after hours. Rooms occupied full time were carefully coordinated with staff to insure minimal impact on patient care. To hasten the installation and allow for easier future modifications PVC was the chosen material. A well-timed process of investigation, environmental control, wall and piping demolition, pipe installation, wall reconstruction and finishing wrapped up with a clean-up and sterilization process was the typical evening’s work for the installer.
The 125 year old structure on the VA campus at Leavenworth, Kansas was originally built as the dining facility for this Veteran’s Administration campus. The VA has leased many buildings to a developer who is restoring and re-purposing the buildings and leasing back to the VA for their programs. This installation is a call center for VA benefits with 400 occupants mostly housed in cubicles. Challenges for this project reached far beyond the structure and Historical Preservation itself. The technology components, high ceilings in some areas and low clearances in others required innovative mechanical solutions and strict coordination with the other design professionals. A water source heat pump system sends a loop of condensing water around the facility to individual units. The main floors of cubicles have a raised floor tall enough to house these air units which distribute air to each occupant’s cubicle at floor level providing enhanced air flow. Power and the massive telecom wiring infrastructure as well as fire alarm, security and other low voltage systems use this underfloor space to serve the needs of the users. A full data processing room located in the basement required redundant power and conditioning. Hidden tunnels, foundations and chases appeared during the process, but timely and complete responses allowed the project to complete on time and without budget concerns.