Liberal Arts and Policy Building

Baltimore, MD

BKM’s work for this project consisted of the complete MEP renovation of a 70,000-square-foot Baltimore landmark.

The first phase of this project consisted of a building evaluation study to determine the best combination of improvements to the 70,000-square-foot building for the given project budget. The building now serves as home for the School of Communications, consisting of classrooms, computer graphics laboratories, audio/visual laboratories, audio booths, editing rooms, production studios, a 60-person tiered viewing room, and study areas as well as faculty and graduate offices.

With virtually no documentation of the original design available, the design underwent a series of forensic engineering and destructive testing to properly evaluate the building’s structure. Given the age of the building and its unique structural design, a supplemental structural network was required for the support of the new m/e/p infrastructure and distribution. Adding to the complexity of this project was the presence of a 2,500-square-foot public bank, located on the first floor of the building which was required to remain in operation 24×7 throughout the renovation process. In addition to preserving the building’s exterior, the design also included the restoration of the barrel vaulted lobby and the 20-foot diameter open stairwell highlighted by the original stained glass windows at each of the five levels.

The HVAC consisted of a custom 50,000 cubic feet-per-minute rooftop air handler complete with water-cooled evaporative condensers. Heating water was provided by two 75 BHP cast iron boilers, which in turn serve variable frequency drive terminals with hot water reheat as well as perimeter finned tube radiation. Temperature controls were provided by a web-based Energy Management System and integrated into the existing campus-wide network. Dedicated direct-expansion split systems were provided for the central communications room, and various server rooms located throughout the facility. The renovation also included a 500 GPM fire pump, a domestic water booster system, and an underslab dewatering and basement dehumidification system.