First Presbyterian Church Greensbor...

First Presbyterian Church Greensboro

Greensboro, North Carolina

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SKA teamed with CJMW Architects, Jeff Harbinson Architect, Frank L. Blum General Contractors, and First Presbyterian Church representatives to design and construct the project, replacing the entire infrastructure of the 1920’s era Smith and Main buildings.  The design process started in the early summer of 2012.  The team met weekly to refine the design while keeping a close watch on the budget.  The project had many challenges including: a historic, landmark building located downtown in a historic district, limited space on the site and inside the buildings, and many unknown and concealed conditions.

The Sanctuary is the crown jewel of the project.  The owner’s scope was to replace the HVAC system with an extremely quiet system, improve the light level by modifying the existing historic pendant light fixtures and adding and updating technology and fire alarm system; all with little or no change to the physical appearance of the space.  To help achieve these goals, an acoustical consultant, A/V consultant and lighting designer joined the team.

During the construction phase, the entire team had to work quickly to come up with solutions as problems arose from unforeseen and concealed conditions.  Examples include an extremely high water table making it impossible to cut the boiler room floor to install underground conduit and floor drains; extensive amounts of asbestos causing delays in construction and additional costs; and water infiltration through exterior walls and roof turrets requiring a hidden scaffolding support system that could be reused for future waterproofing projects.

The structures for the First Presbyterian Church included the following:

  • New Atrium Addition: A one-story addition and partial renovation
  • New Smith Entrance and porch
  • Various structural repairs and supplemental framing  made throughout the buildings to accommodate the new MEP penetrations and architectural layout

The existing plumbing system in the building was replaced in its entirety. Existing buildings that were not being renovated, including Corl and Memorial, were resupplied with domestic water through the existing tunnel systems. A new meter and 3” reduced pressure backflow preventer  provided on the Green Street side of the Sanctuary. 

Entire renovated area, with exception of Sanctuary, was equipped with new wet, water based fire protection sprinkler system. A new 6” water line connected to city main was installed to provide water supply to new system. System was divided into 3 zones: Zone 1 – Basement and 1st floor, Zone 2 – 2nd floor, and Zone 3 – 3rd floor and attic. Sprinkler risers for each zone with control valves are located in the closets of first floor with easy access from outside. Alarm devices are connected to building alarm system.

The HVAC system is a four-pipe system with new central utility plant with air handling units, fan coil units, and dedicated outdoor air units. New boilers and a modular water cooled chiller were located in the existing boiler room. A new cooling tower was located in the courtyard near the Life Center.  Heating system also serves Corl and Memorial, cooling system sized for service extension to a future renovated Memorial Building and future building expansion in the present area of Corl Building.

The existing electrical service and main electrical room supplied electrical power to the Main, Smith, Corl, and Memorial buildings. The electrical system for the Main and Smith buildings was replaced in its entirety. The existing Corl building main service resupplied from the new main switchboard.  The existing feeders supplying the Memorial building resupplied through the noted main switchboard. Provisions made in electrical system sizing for service extension to a future renovated Memorial building and future building expansion in the present area of Corl building. A special system plan including voice/data locations and cabling routing was provided.

A complete fire alarm system was provided throughout all levels of the Sanctuary and Smith building, including sub-basement and attic levels. The main fire alarm panel was sized to monitor entire campus with capability for future interface of Memorial and future site construction.


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