DENVER - The Sheet Metal Contractors Coalition recently built a new two-story, 26,700 sq. ft. training facility.

DENVER - The Sheet Metal Contractors Coalition, a group of merit-shop owners, along with other merit-shop building contractors, recently built a new two-story, 26,700 sq. ft. training facility, which including classrooms, shop areas, meeting rooms, instructor lounges and administrative offices.

Officials from the coalition said growing number of apprentice enrollments, combined with increasing demand for additional journey-level training, had left area contractors sorely in need of a new, modern facility.

Although they quickly gave an OK to proceed with the project, they soon found it was not going to be easy. Circumstances continually hampered the process from the beginning.

The project, located in an existing warehouse facility at 646 Mariposa St. in Denver, required demolition of all interior space, exposing numerous areas to be brought up to code before final design and construction could proceed.

During early phases of construction, local inspectors required new firewalls, roof structure upgrades and access modifications, which could not be anticipated in the original plans. The project, already on a tight schedule for fall classes, was set back at least one month to accommodate unforeseen changes.

Educational facilities traditionally target the start of the next school year for completion of new projects and occupancy. The new training center is no exception. Scheduling delays, however, seemed insurmountable to many.

SMCC officials said contractors and suppliers, nonetheless, were up to the challenge when it came time to install the new hvacr systems. Their portion of the work occurred during the busiest time of the year.

For volunteer companies, this meant they would have to sacrifice even more during this period of normally intense activity. They not only put the project back on schedule for fall classes, but also located and purchased the new items of equipment to be used in their new school.

Mechanical work included design, supply, and installation of three makeup air units, 12 split systems, eight infrared heaters, exposed spiral duct in shop areas, rectangular insulated duct, flexible duct, diffusers and fire-smoke dampers.

SMCC is made up of numerous hvacr shops and suppliers. Their goal is to "provide communication, education, and advocacy" for members. Its roots go back to 1987 when a few local firms banded together, including Concord Metals, Airway, Climax, Action Air, Rogers & Sons, and Pasterkamp Heating & A/C.

Officially chartered in 1990, SMCC has since been joined by dozens of companies that have opted to take advantage of its benefits, especially training, which is vastly enhanced with the new center.