North Dakota State College of Science
Wahpeton, North Dakota
North Dakota State College of Science’s Old Main has been a fixture on the school’s campus since its beginning. It’s had several upgrades over the last 100 years, but this remodel project was the first complete gut job.
Obernel, together with MJBA Architects, drastically improved occupant comfort and yet achieved an energy efficient system. Balancing the historic character of the building with today’s modern mechanical systems was a challenge. “For us, that means not very much space to route ductwork and pipes. There were spaces where we had ex-posed ductwork and piping, and we needed to hide it the best we could so people won’t see it – that was probably one of the biggest challenges,” said Dave Vig, Obernel Principal and Mechanical Engineer. “It was built over 100 years ago, so it wasn’t originally built with a lot of ductwork and piping and mechanical systems. With that same floor-to-floor height, we had to design in a mechanical system that would fit on each of the levels.” Obernel used a Variable Air Volume System, Variable Speed Pumping, campus steam for the heat and converted to hot water. The attic, which has been unoccupied for a number of years, was converted into usable space creating a fifth floor.
Renovations of historic buildings are notoriously difficult, but the coordination between the team at Obernel and also between Obernel and MJBA made this project a success.