Air handler supports the mission at a unique aviation-themed waterpark
Custom air-handling equipment was laid out in an atypical arrangement in order to meet this waterpark’s unusual design challenges.
Evergreen Wings & Waves Waterpark includes ten waterslides, a wave pool, and a children’s museum dedicated to teaching students about the power of water. Its distinguishing architectural feature is a massive B747-100 aircraft on the top of the building. As anyone familiar with building construction and mechanical systems might assume, this posed substantial challenges. A committed team was able to answer these unique challenges, and Unison™ Comfort Technologies HVAC units were a key part of their solution.
“Hoffman Construction (the waterpark’s general contractor) is concerned that everything we do on this campus supports the vision of the foundation, which is to inspire and educate,” said Ben Wiley, project engineer, Hoffman Construction.
The unusual demands of this project made close teamwork essential for those responsible for the waterpark’s HVAC units. Hal Brey, project manager with Temp-Control Mechanical, notes the importance of an established, trusted working relationship on a complex project such as this.
“To Innovent’s credit, the delivery happened as promised,” Brey said.
This was crucial to the tight construction schedule. Because of the close tolerance of the space, the unit’s height, footprint and airflow also had no margin for error.
“Dimensionally, it was built exactly as it was drawn,” said Hal Brey, “…which doesn’t happen too much anymore these days.”
The Unison rep, Brad Galpern, vice president of engineering and industrial sales for Johnson Air Products, echoed that delivery and dimensions were “mission critical.” In business since 1948, Johnson Air Products is one of Portland, Oregon’s largest suppliers of commercial and industrial HVAC systems. They specialize in providing innovative, energy efficient solutions and knowledgeable application support. Johnson Air Products is the sales territory rep for two Unison Comfort Technologies businesses, Innovent® and Valent®.
Glumac, the consulting engineering firm for the project, selected Innovent as the basis of design for the unit under the 747, which serves the plane body and the two glass stairwells. Upon entering the body of the plane, waterpark guests choose from four exciting waterslides which exit the plane, skim the roof line, and then dip back into the park. They anticipated the conditions in the waterslide “starthouse” in the plane body would pose extreme challenges to maintaining comfort.
The firm’s focus on sustainable engineering also led them to seek an energy efficient solution. As a supplier of custom air-handling equipment, Innovent offered the design flexibility for an atypical configuration where the condenser fans exhaust heat out of the rear of the air handling unit vs. the more traditional top, where the close proximity of the plane’s body would not allow proper heat rejection.
A UNISON SOLUTION
Johnson Air Products provided an Innovent custom AHU and two Valent packaged rooftop units, all part of the Unison Comfort Technologies product line. Speaking to the advantage of a common source for these different types of HVAC solutions, Brey noted the comfort level and confidence that comes from “working with people you trust, such as Hoffman Construction and Johnson Air Products.” Engineering and rigging the plane onto its perch atop the building is a story in itself. But installing the Innovent unit posed substantial challenges as well.
Brey recounts, “Two-thirds of the building was built up with the structural steel. Part of the building was left out to provide a space for the crane to lift the airplane. The plane was then set on top in a careful, painstaking process. Subsequently, our team took the opportunity to bring in the Innovent unit. Working with Hoffman, we were able to get the steel structure for the stair tower on the east side erected in stages so the columns were left low, below the roofline. We set up rigging so that we could move the unit in on rails.” Brey continued, “Normally that early in a project, installing HVAC is not critical. But with this project we would never have been able to do it had we waited any longer. Being able to meet the commitments that were made was crucial.”
Hoffman’s Wiley underscores this from his general contractor’s perspective, “The Innovent unit was moved in shortly after the plane lift. The timing was critical; we had rigging equipment and mobile cranes onsite. This was definitely not a typical installation. We had to hit the time slot because we had to build the stairs up to the plane, so that we could start all the work following that.”
As guests enter the plane, they can view the forward section of the plane through a glass wall, around which the air distribution is mounted. Hoffman, Temp-Control Mechanical, and Johnson Air Products collaborated to devise a ring of special diffusers which complimented the aviation-themed architecture — another example of the team’s synergy solving design challenges.
As the building planning progressed, the Evergreen leadership began to envision possibilities to further their mission to inspire and educate beyond the basic waterpark. They stretched the building size to incorporate party rooms and a children’s museum.
Glumac selected two Valent VPR 310 packaged rooftop units to serve these areas, locker rooms, and to provide makeup air for the waterpark’s kitchen and snack bar. These units are located in a mechanical yard behind the facility. True to the educational mission, there is signage on a window overlooking the yard and icons on the HVAC and mechanical units explaining their function to potential future engineers.
The waterpark has proven to be a big attraction in the Portland area and welcomed over 50,000 visitors in the first few months of operation. From a consulting engineering perspective, Glumac states that the Innovent unit has performed to the expectations of their design criteria and that Innovent should be proud of their role in a uniquely demanding application. Hoffman maintains an ongoing presence on the campus and Ben Wiley reports, “The Innovent unit has performed very well in one of the most challenging conditions on the project. That unit serves the plane and the stairwells which are above the roofline. Because it’s the topmost point in the building, hot, humid air rises up those stairwells and gets into the plane; that is where guests experience wait time prior to getting into the slides. So the performance of that unit is critical to guest comfort. We’ve been here onsite and only had one time when we had to come in and adjust anything on that unit, which is quite a testament.”
Looking ahead, future plans include adding a lodge to the campus to make it even more of a destination. And it’s clear the team will remain just as committed to creating comfortable and energy-efficient environments that inspire and educate. ES