This Old Building: Pepper Construction Group, McWilliams Electric Co. and Kelso-Burnett renovate two Chicago landmarks

This Old Building: Pepper Construction Group, McWilliams Electric Co. and Kelso-Burnett renovate two Chicago landmarks

(Taken from Electrical Contractor original article)

Of the millions of buildings 
in the United States, less than 3 percent—an estimated 90,000 to 100,000—are on the National Register of Historic Places. While representing only a small slice of the nation’s building population, a bevy of stakeholders ensure these prominent landmarks meet exacting standards. They often require extensive upgrading by contractors with an additional level of expertise and experience.

Pepper Construction Group is a nearly 90-year-old, third-generation general contracting and construction management firm headquartered in Chicago. It is the third-largest contractor in the Midwest and the 45th largest in the nation. Following, experts and members of the Pepper electrical subcontracting teams discuss details of the high-profile historic upgrades at the White House in Barrington, Ill., and Wrigley Field in Chicago. They also offer tips for success in vintage structure renovations.


Wrigley Field

Pepper Construction’s renovation and expansion of Chicago’s beloved Wrigley Field baseball park began a few years ago with enabling projects designed to support major reconstruction that will likely continue into 2018–2019.

“The purpose of the project is to preserve Wrigley Field for the future while providing an enhanced fan and player experience,” said Jim Nissen, Pepper Construction executive vice president.

Among the projects completed so far are the removal and replacement of outfield bleachers with bigger bleachers that allow more space for fans to gather.

“In addition, we’ve been working around the foundation and structure of the entire ballpark to support new concession areas and party spaces on upper levels that will add load, have added elevators, and are in the process of building a new clubhouse for players, a tunnel between the clubhouse and dugout, and new office/retail space adjacent to the ballpark,” Nissen said.

The projects will involve LED lighting, variable frequency drives, Ideal Industries’ Audacy wireless lighting control/energy management system, and other new technologies.

The team also installed two new video boards in the stadium while maintaining the existing historic scoreboard, which wasn’t without its challenges.

According to Dan Maimonis, project executive, electrical contracting partner Kelso-Burnett, and Bill Martin, Jr., project manager, Kelso-Burnett, the contactor that measures balls and strikes in the old scoreboard is historic and irreplaceable, so it required a lot of care. In addition, the scoreboard was controlled from the press box behind home plate, so it had to be removed and replaced because the wiring went through the left-field portion of the bleachers.

In addition to the team of nearly 200 contractors having to work in the tight constraints and cold-weather months of the offseason, the stadium’s electrical system had undergone many additions over the years and involved a collection of different technologies.

“We’ve worked with utility ComEd to upgrade all of their feeds to the stadium and rebuild the entire distribution system to bring it up to the current standard,” Nissen said. “It had been built to code at the time, but the technology is completely different now.”

In addition, the sheer quantity of labor, the short time period and the tremendous volume of conduit and wire to pull required tight coordination, a reality exacerbated by contractor labor shortages in Chicago, the site of many other construction projects happening concurrently.

“This is one of the most complicated and challenging jobs we’ve ever done but also one of the most rewarding because it’s such an iconic structure in Chicago,” Nissen said. “It’s exciting to be a part of it.”

“Wrigley Field is one of the most unique projects I’ve been involved with, but as a lifelong Chicagoan, it was one I had to work on,” Maimonis said.
For original article click here.

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