Bayless High School, located in the southern metropolitan area of St. Louis, is a multi-level structure consisting of general and specialized classrooms, library, auditorium, kitchen / cafeteria, administration offices and a gymnasium.

The original main classroom building and gymnasium were constructed in 1957. In 1964, a classroom addition was constructed on the east side of the original building. A second classroom expansion was built on the southwest corner of the original 1957 structure in 1998. This addition also served as a link between the original classroom building and the gymnasium. The total area of the high school facility is approximately 101,000 square feet.

As part of the district’s overall long range facility improvement plan, the High School building was scheduled for HVAC and lighting modernization during the summer of 2008.

The administration’s goals for the modernization were:

  • Enhance the Learning Environment
  • Improve the Interior Aesthetics
  • Focus on Energy Efficiency

The district had been dealing with high energy bills for years as a result of 75% of the building being served by electric resistance heat.

FSG engineers were forced to deal with two unique retrofit scenarios within the building. First, the original 1957 wing had no existing cooling system and structural limitations presented numerous challenges with regard to available space for ductwork and piping. Additionally the 1964 wing had an existing obsolete chilled water cooling system that needed to be demolished and a new system put in its place.

The building’s structural characteristics made all of the typical system options unaffordable due to excessive constructability costs.

Given the physical and fiscal restraints of the project, the FSG project team determined that a Variable Refrigerant Volume System in conjunction with a dedicated ventilation system represented the best life cycle choice.

This was to be the first commercial VRV System of its size installed in the St. Louis area so a steep learning curve had to be overcome by both designers and contractors.

Daiken equipment was the basis of design due to their extensive portfolio of successful commercial installations. FSG and the mechanical contractors received extensive support from the local and national Daiken personnel. FSG project engineer, Bill Rice commented “All of the Daiken people in St. Louis and Dallas were as committed to the projects success as we were.”

Using the FSG directed design-build project delivery approach, the job was designed, bid and under contract within 60 days.

The lighting upgrade was on a parallel path with FSG Lighting Services retrofitting many existing fixtures with high efficiency electronic ballasts and new T8 lamps while all classrooms and corridors received new lay-in fixtures in a new acoustical ceiling. The illumination levels in all classrooms were increased from an average of 35 foot candles to the recommended 50 foot candles.
The gymnasium had a pre-retrofit illumination level of 12 foot candles. FSG used T5 High Output, 6 lamp fluorescent fixtures to increase the illumination at center court to the recommended 50 foot candle level.

To meet the scheduled HVAC completion of mid-August it was necessary to begin construction in the spring during building occupancy. FSG worked with the district administration to rotate 2-3 classrooms of students per week into the library freeing up these rooms for the construction team. As a result the entire building was ready for occupancy with new lights, ceilings and HVAC for the first day of classes.

Not only did the project get completed on time and under budget but the district’s goals for aesthetic improvement and energy efficiency were on target as well. District Superintendent Dr. Maureen Clancy-May was thrilled with the finished product. “It’s almost as if we’d built a new building. It’s fantastic!”

The VRV heat pump performance has been fantastic as well. The first winter of operation subjected the system to the coldest air seen in the St. Louis in 10 years. Amazingly, the VRV heat pumps were able to maintain all heating set points at 0 degrees ambient without any supplemental electric heat. Bayless facility director Jeff Timeus said “if I hadn’t seen it myself I wouldn’t have believed it.”

District administration was so pleased with the project that they engaged FSG to execute the same strategy in the Junior High building the following year.

VRV Benefits

Energy:Efficiency equal to or greater than geothermal
Utilizes refrigerant R-410A
Sound Power levels for fan coil units @ 25 – 30 dba.
Application / Constructability:

  • Only requires space for small diameter refrigerant lines
  • Little to no ductwork used
  • Outdoor Units are quiet and relatively light weight
  • Pre-engineered self-contained control system