Value engineered ‘from the heart’:

Mike Doyle, president and owner of Danard Electric Inc, Tacoma, Washington, didn’t set out to win any awards when he bid the electrical work on Mount Rainier Lutheran High School; it just happened in the course of presenting the best system possible for the customer. In 2006, his company was one of three subcontractors that received special mention as part of the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of Washington Contribution to Community Award. Building the facility for the Concordia Lutheran School System was a small-budget community project but large in both number of challenges and man-hours expended.

Project Manager Ken Doyle and Foreman Zach Watters used value engineering and creative design to save the school money and still provide a quality product. The result is a facility that is a showplace for education and religion to come together for Tacoma teens and their families after 50 years.

The Tacoma Lutheran community brought Bob Malzahn from Texas to be executive director of Mount Rainier Lutheran High School and to oversee the project. Malzahn’s specialty is consulting on the initial construction and academic structure of Lutheran schools across the nation.

“It is a giant step to go from dream to achieving a program where folks are willing to place their students. Danard helped us make it happen,” Malzahn said while describing how the building looks and feels like an academic environment. “It is what is important to the families.”

In addition to contributing more than $25,000 in services to the project, Mike Doyle petitioned for a donation from the local Labor Management Cooperation Committee (LMCC). The LMCC presented a $10,000 donation to the school. Doyle also was able to secure a grant from his local union, IBEW 76. The grant money is part of a market recovery program funded through union dues.

The Tacoma Lutheran community was able to bring together two general contractors, Pease and Sons and John Korsmo Construction, to get the project started. Pease and Sons took on the role of construction and mechanical contractor while Korsmo Construction acted as the building contractor.

Danard Electric Inc., an electrical contractor with 40 employees, was on John Korsmo’s and Darron Pease’s short list for the project. Mike Doyle, a member of the Tacoma Lutheran community, secured the job by submitting a bid that showed his company could lower costs without reducing the scope of the project—known in the contracting community as value engineering. It was immediately brought on as the lead electrical contractor. All three contractors teamed up with local Tacoma businesses, church volunteers and school faculty members to keep costs low, while building a five-star facility for alternative education in the Tacoma area.

“The electrical was only about 20 percent designed when we came on board. The job then became design/build,” said Ken Doyle, vice president of Danard Electric and project manager on the Mount Rainier Lutheran High School project.

Danard Electric’s work on the project began with the initial excavation. It required 10,000 feet of piping, including the building site. Excavation included backfill for power, phone, television, Internet and gas lines. More than 75,000 feet of cable was pulled throughout the school.

Danard Electric pulled 25,000 feet of metal clad (MC) cable, while 50,000 feet of data cable was pulled by volunteers under the direction of Bart Luedemann, Mount Rainier Lutheran High School’s director of technology and business manager.

Another company owned by Mike Doyle, E Squared Systems, installed fire systems. E Squared Systems is an Edwards Signaling distributor.

In addition, to fire systems and cable, Danard Electric provided two main electrical locations. Both were fitted with a Siemens 800A, 480V main distribution frame. Battery packs were placed inside the normal lighting and at each exit sign for emergency lighting. Danard Electric also installed the hubs for wireless Internet and closed-circuit television surveillance (CCTV).

Ken Doyle used value engineering in both the lighting in the commons and the outside parking lot lights. By changing the light wattage and shifting locations and height, he was able to save the school thousands of dollars.

As funds were acquired and gifts donated to the school, Ken Doyle had to adjust his designs and plans to fit the school’s needs and work flexible hours to coordinate with the volunteers. Later in the project, bleachers were donated to the school. Ken Doyle also engineered the electrical design for retracting and extending the bleachers. He also installed the shot clocks on the back of the basketball hoops and engineered the electrical controls for the backboards.

The high school subcontracted the security system to Sonitrol. Luedemann also installed a wireless clock system by Primex Wireless that synchronizes all the school clocks, bell tones and computer times. The master clock receives the time signal from a GPS satellite. An FM transmitter and Federal Communications Commission license are part of the package.

The finished school is a 54,000-square-foot, single-story facility that includes biology and physical science labs, a computer lab, a library, an art studio, a music room, seven classrooms, one seminar room, administrative and student service offices, multiple use commons, a production room and a double court gymnasium with adjoining locker rooms. The school’s current student body is 76, but the facility has a capacity for 225 students.

The building was designed with the anticipation for the school to grow to a population of 500 students. Future additions include ball fields, expansions for the locker rooms and construction of an auditorium. Danard Electric will continue to contribute on future construction phases. Phase Two may include a new satellite campus for the Concordia Lutheran grade school.

O’CONNOR is a Washington state-based freelance writer who specializes in business and technology writing. Her e-mail is kanoconnor@aol.com. HARLER, a frequent contributor to SECURITY & LIFE SAFETY SYSTEMS, is based in Strongsville, Ohio. He can be reached at 440.238.4556 or curt@curtharler.com.