The KC Southern Building, completed in 2002, is a six-story, 129,000-sq-ft tower in Kansas City, MO. Its dry suppression life safety element’s gas is clean, odorless, and safe, and the system employs a cross-zone arrangement to prevent accidental discharge of the gas canisters.
"Our instructions to the architects were that we wanted a very modern headquarters, but one that when you looked at it you could tell that it was the home of a railroad," said Mike Haverty, chairman, president and CEO of Kansas City Southern, one of the country's last important independent railways. The result was the KC Southern Building. Completed in 2002, the six-story, 129,000-sq-ft tower is Block 105 in Cathedral Square in Kansas City, MO. "It was a spec office building, but it was really a build-to-suit," said Peter Sloan, project architect with CDFM2, Kansas City, MO.

Thomas J. Corso is vice president of operations for MC Lioness Realty Group, LLC, Kansas City, MO, the property and facilities manager. "Cathedral Square," he explained, "is a revitalization development to resurrect downtown's west side with Cathedral Square and a number of other projects." MC Lioness is property manager for 10 million sq ft of buildings in metropolitan Kansas City, 4 million sq ft of them clustered in the downtown area.

A Fire Safety Network

The 183,000-sq-ft office/commercial flagship building includes a five-level, 1,400-car underground garage, and a public plaza with extensive landscaping and five fountains. A fire safety network links 10 buildings in and around Cathedral Square.

Fire protection for the square itself was a negotiated D-B project with Siemens Fire Safety (Florham Park, NJ) with application and contract service work through the Siemens Kansas City branch office. "A service contract, including regular inspections and job training, is part of the agreement," noted Stephen Moore, Siemens service sales representative.

Siemens MXLV provides life safety and property protection for Cathedral Square and the other buildings on the network and MXL-IQ multiplexed, distributed-intelligence detection systems. The Cathedral Square MXLV includes voice-evacuation arrangements.

The systems are teamed with Siemens FirePrint™ detectors and addressable pull stations. FirePrint intelligent fire detectors employ advanced software algorithms and a neural network to sense both smoke and heat. To reduce the chance of false alarms, FirePrint detectors can be individually adjusted for optimum response in a variety of environments. The KC Southern building employs 300 addressable detectors, "which can be adjusted if the needs of the occupancy change," Moore said.

As the building was nearing completion, KC Southern requested FM-200 dry suppression arrangements for the computer room to protect people, property, and the mission of the business. The gas is clean, odorless, and safe, and the system employs a cross-zone arrangement to prevent accidental discharge of the gas canisters. "We modified the panels, which were already installed, to include the suppression arrangements, so the FM 200 in the computer room works together with the MXLVs," Moore said.

A network command center monitored around the clock connects Cathedral Square with nine other buildings managed by MC Lioness. In case of an alarm, the MCL central dispatcher is notified automatically. In case of a trouble signal, the command center panel automatically shows the building and its location, the device, the address of the device, and the nature of the problem.

Siemens supplied the fire safety equipment for all 10 buildings, including monitoring equipment. The Cathedral Square service contract was part of the original design/build negotiation, with separate service contracts negotiated for each of the other buildings.

System Adds To Marketability

Everyone on the staff of any building on the network is trained with a general knowledge of all 10 buildings in case of need or emergency. Each building manager monitors vendors doing construction and calls Siemens if the fire safety system is affected in any way.

Various engineering services were supplied by Gibbens Drake Scot, KTI Construction Services, Structural Engineering Associates, and Woodward Clyde. The Kansas City office of the M.E.Group, Inc. supplied mechanical and electrical engineering design services.

Electrical/electronics distribution wiring and cabling was by DataLink. Elevators and escalators were by Otis. Sioux City Brick & Tile Co did the façade. HVAC was by Trane, Inc., and life safety and security by Siemens Building Technologies.

The Kansas City Southern building reinforces the company's history and relates to Kansas City's past and current revitalization efforts. "From a developer's perspective, this is a very marketable building," MCL's Corso said. ES