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GSA Teams Replace Earthquake-Damaged Cooler at Anchorage Federal Building

October 9, 2019

 Four-picture collage showing 8,000 lbs dry chiller being lifted on top of the Anchorage Federal Building

Nearly a year ago, the Anchorage, Alaska region experienced a 7.1 magnitude earthquake that resulted in seismic damage to the Anchorage Federal Building. While GSA teams did an amazing job of bringing the building back up within days of the earthquake, some issues still remained.

One of those projects was replacing the heavily damaged dry chillers on the roof of the building.
The cooling unit on the roof was ripped away from the support structure and the piping was extensively damaged from the earthquake.

Now you might not think of cooling as being a priority in the colder climates in Alaska, but Information Technology and data center rooms need to be kept at a constant lower temperature around the clock. It was important GSA tackle this project quickly to ensure the computer systems continued operation without interruption.

Unlike air conditioning, which cools the air and forces it into a building, the dry cooler removes heat from a building, particularly during winter months when air conditioning isn’t necessary, typically from November to March or April.

Getting the new unit on top of the Anchorage Federal Building also proved to be a challenge. Unlike the contiguous United States where products and equipment can be shipped to different destinations easily by truck or rail, Alaska poses some unique issues.

The 8,000 lb chiller unit was delivered to Seattle from Spokane, WA by truck, then barged to Anchorage from Seattle via ship. The 600-ton crane to lift the giant chilling unit on top of the building had to be timed with the arrival of the chiller unit. Any disruption to the travel of either would have caused significant delays and costs. GSA teams closely monitored and tracked the equipment’s arrival.

The crane, one of the largest cranes in Alaska, spanned the length of one street block and took a full day to set up. The delicate lift of the unit onto the roof then took place and it all happened without incident.

The $1 million project was completed thanks to the Anchorage GSA team comprised of Automme Circosta, Project Manager; Marlowe Gilmore, Supervisory Project Manager; Amy Heusser, Contracting Officer; Tim Howard Planner/Estimator; Joe Seufert, Mechanical Engineer; Pete Blakely, Structural Engineer; Darin Lenderink, Electrical Engineer; Marty Novini, Energy Program Manager; and Glen Graham, Operations Manager.

For more information, contact:
Christi Chidester Votisek
Phone: 415-816-8512
Email: christina.chidester@gsa.gov

Last Reviewed: 2022-01-11