Fitzemeyer & Tocci Provides MEP/FP Services for SMHC

Southern Maine Health Care’s Behavioral Health Unit / Images courtesy Margulies Perruzzi

Margulies Perruzzi / Array Architects Team

Sanford, ME – Fitzemeyer & Tocci (F&T) is providing full MEP/FP engineering and construction administration services for the design and construction of a new 26,500sf behavioral health unit at Southern Maine Health Care’s Sanford campus(SMHC), part of the MaineHealth network. The estimated project cost is $9.4 million and the architect team is Margulies Perruzzi Architects/Array Architects.

Due to an increase in behavioral health cases and lack of short-stay beds, SMHC is constructing the new short-stay behavioral health care unit which can accommodate up to 42 patients in a mix of private and semi-private rooms. This project is expected to generate more than 50 new jobs and provide critically needed bed capacity for York County patients who are experiencing short-term crises.

The Sanford campus was targeted as the location for the new behavioral unit because, in addition to meeting the geographic needs for the behavioral program, the campus had two vacant floors in a wing of the hospital.

While the general space footprint fit the proposed program well, the 1960s Marland building has limited floor to floor height, primarily masonry wall construction, and scattered and unorganized utility services between floors.

One solution to these physical building challenges was employing an active chilled beam system for primary heating, cooling, and ventilation. With custom ligature-resistant covering and hardware, this solution provides a flush ceiling assembly while minimizing size of terminal equipment and ductwork above the ceiling.  

In addition to space and infrastructure cost savings, chilled beams offer additional advantages compared to traditional variable air volume systems, including less fan energy and quieter operation.  With ventilation air treated at the source, chilled beams also operate at a higher and more efficient chilled water temperature compared to traditional air conditioning systems, offering additional energy savings.

In the initial infrastructure evaluation, it was identified that some of the facility’s primary HVAC systems needed upgrades due to age and lack of resiliency. F&T’s infrastructure specialist team paralleled the behavioral project design with the design of upgrades to the facility’s boiler plant and primary chiller equipment to address these issues.

Energy plant work included overhaul of the nearly 60-year-old, 360 HP low pressure steam boiler plant with a modern, 300 HP plant. The new plant will feature a set of three, 100 HP compact vertical fire tube steam boilers that will provide more reliable, N+1 heating resiliency, critical to a 24/7 operation.  In addition, a complete overhaul of the boiler feedwater, venting, and backup fuel oil handling systems will be provided to ensure the operational efficiency of the system exceeds modern day standards.

The existing chiller plant will be enhanced by replacing an abandoned 150-ton air cooled chiller on the roof of the hospital with a new, 150-ton modular chiller.  A second, existing 150-ton air cooled chiller will remain as dedicated standby.

In addition to building comfort cooling, the existing chiller plant also serves the computerized tomography (CT) scanner process cooling load.  When the outdoor temperature drops precipitously, the existing chiller cannot operate and as a result, the hospital is forced to cancel CT procedures during cold weather and transfer patients to other facilities.  To overcome this, the design team selected a new chiller that will operate at low ambient temperatures and provide non-mechanical (free) cooling to save electric energy during the winter months.

The project is expected to be completed this summer.