Northeast Medical Center (NMC), a 457-bed regional hospital located in Concord, NC, has shared the good fortune of a growing southern North Carolina. This growth has meant newly designed renovations and additions from the exterior aesthetics to the interior plant system - including an expansion to the central chiller plant in the spring of 2003. These operational improvements to the infrastructure of NMC were necessary and timely as expressed by Phil Stephens, director of Facilities Management Services, "We were losing our back-up capacities and we also needed to remain ready for future growth." Consequently, the plant gained an 800-ton chiller, a cooling tower, and a second plate-and-frame heat exchanger, which is the main protagonist in this story
Leaning on experience and data from various K-12 cities and projects, the author pursues some less conventional design approaches. They may revolve around radiant heating and/or cooling, but depending on school size and other factors, the smart use of heat recovery, DOAS, and improved central plants could also put a project on the HVAC honor roll.