The new $64 million Niagara Falls High School marked Honeywell's first foray into the role of program manager.

More than 500,000 lb. of sheet metal was required for the hvac system at Niagara Falls High School in Niagara Falls, N.Y.

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. - The new $64 million Niagara Falls High School here incorporates a number of firsts. For one thing, it's the first privately financed and privately-managed school construction project in the state. And for Honeywell, it marked the company's first foray into the role of program manager.

The company was responsible for overseeing all aspects of the project, from financing to the design of the hvac system. According to Honeywell officials, it was a unique set of circumstances which led to the company being selected as program manager. Spokeswoman Kaye Veazey said Honeywell originally had no interest in the position, but was asked by school district officials to participate in the bid process. The district had been pleased with energy retrofit work Honeywell had previously done on 18 buildings in the school system.

The process was unusual for Honeywell, Veazey said. "We had to do some homework just to submit a bid," she said. When Honeywell's bid was accepted, the company appointed employee Steve Rollins as project executive to oversee the school's construction. One of the first tasks was selecting the companies they would work with to build the 400,282-sq. ft. school.

The Princeton, N.J.-based Hillier Group was selected by Honeywell as the architectural firm and Hillier Engineering provided engineering services. The Louis B. Ciminelli Construction Co. of Buffalo, N.Y. was the general contractor. Mechanical contractor for the project was the J.W Danforth Co., also located in Buffalo. The J.P. Morgan Co. was hired to find private investors to fund the construction project. No additional taxes were levied on district residents for the project.

Energy saver

Honeywell took on the duty itself of installing much of the hvac system, which uses two 750-ton dual compressor, McQuay chillers and two Cleaver-Brooks boilers. The system also includes something relatively few schools have - a heat recovery ventilator, which removes polluted indoor air while bringing in plenty of fresh air. A highly efficient design, warmth from the expelled indoor air is used to heat the fresh air coming into the school, allowing the system to recover much of the energy originally used to heat or cool the indoor air. The whole operation is controlled by Honeywell's XSM Building Control System.

The estimated six miles of ductwork the school required was manufactured and installed by Niagara Frontier Sheet Metal of Orchard Park, N.Y. More than 500,000 lb. of various types of sheet metal was used, including PVC-coated and stainless steel. Duct was primarily fabricated rectangular. According to Glenn Stoltman, Niagara executive vice-president and manager for the project, the year-long job went well. "We had to get a lot done in a short period of time," Stoltman said. "It was really a job coordinating with a lot of different trades." School officials wanted the job done before September, in time for the district's 2,400 students to attend the new facility.

Besides the hvac system, many other amenities at the school were installed by Honeywell, including the lighting and a 62-camera security system that covers all classrooms, hallways and parking areas for student and staff security.

The school also features a 1,700-sq. ft. theater, a 2,200 sq. ft. gymnasium and an "Art Core," with a public art gallery, photo studios and more. School Superintendent Carmen Granto called the project a "revolution in school financing, partnership, programming, leadership and technology."

Veazey said Honeywell has no plans to take on the role of program manager again, but added that the company would not rule out the possibility. "It's probably a one-time thing," she said. "It's not something we would seek out in the future. But I can't say we wouldn't do it again if the conditions were right."