Francis Gymnasium Renovations

Location: St. Louis

Client: Washington University

Burns & McDonnell provided complete architectural and engineering design services to Washington University for renovations in the Francis Gymnasium. The building was built in 1904 and provided several design challenges.

Constructed long before the energy crisis of the 1970s, the building’s mechanical and electrical systems were inefficient compared to today’s standards. Modifications to the building, such as energy-gulping window air conditioners, worsened the problem and negatively impacted indoor air quality. An energy audit performed by the university confirmed these problems and pointed to a building upgrade.

A Burns & McDonnell team of engineers and architects was contracted to upgrade this historic facility to meet today’s standards. The firm replaced the window air conditioners, incandescent lighting, single pane windows and other high energy-consuming devices with more efficient, energy-conscious systems.

New windows were designed to complement the structure while providing up-to-date thermal efficiencies. A visiting team locker and shower room was extensively remodeled. A new HVAC system was provided for the entire building. Three new HVAC units were installed in the attic to bring outside air requirements through roof intakes, eliminating louvers in the building. New ductwork is exposed in classrooms and locker areas. New plumbing was designed. All new electrical wiring and lighting were part of the renovations. Lighting was designed for energy efficiency and abuse resistance.

Burns & McDonnell received the Technology Award of Excellence for commercial facilities from the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) for this renovation.

Although this landmark was built at the turn of the century, Francis Gymnasium and its newly renovated, energy-efficient utility systems are ready to handle the challenges of the next century.