OlympiaTech Electric Co, is located near the Twin Cities in Plymouth, Minnisota; started in 1964 by George Kosmides, OlympiaTech Electric has been providing a design/build approach to electrical project installations since its conception.

The company has a history performing contracts to a list of companies that reads like a who’s who of building, including Opus Northwest Construction, Ryan Companies, Duke Construction, RJ Ryan and Kraus-Anderson.

In the education market, OlympiaTech Electric has focused on some high-profile projects, such as the University of Minnesota Library, WMEP Downtown School, Southview Middle School and Ascension Catholic School.

“We have some unique smaller specialty design/build projects such as Rasmussen College and Partners in Excellence,” said Paul Kosmides, president of OlympiaTech Electric. According to Kosmides, these projects are typical of traditional electrical contracting—straightforward work, tight time frames and superior outcomes—but the company approaches each with the same commitment to professionalism and quality work performance.

OlympiaTech Electric performed two interesting and out-of-the-ordinary education installations recently. It worked on an adult education college and an educational facility for kids with special needs.

Rasmussen College in Brooklyn Park, Minn., is a private college established in 1900 by Walter Rasmussen. It offers both two- and four-year degrees in addition to online courses in a variety of subjects. The college has six facilities with the Brooklyn Park campus being the most recent.

The design/build project began in September 2004 and was completed in May 2005. “We worked with the general contractor, Duke Construction, on both a 140,000-square-foot multiuse manufacturing and warehouse building called Crosstown 10 and on the approximately 30,000-square-foot Rasmussen College facility,” said Paul Kosmides. “Both buildings are part of a 12 building development complex called Crosstown North. The Rasmussen College has a glass curtain wall and a brick façade, while the Crosstown 10 building is precast and has a glass corner so that both buildings compliment each other.”

Kosmides’ team did all the design work for the electrical, except for the fire alarm system. The electrical service system consisted of a 1,000-amp, 480-volt, three-phase service. It has a one lug only main switchboard, containing two 400-amp fused disconnects and two 200-amp fused disconnect switches. The switches fed two 277/480-volt distribution panelboards and two large rooftop units for heating, ventilating and air-conditioning (HVAC).

“The two 277/480-volt, 400-amp distribution panelboards are feeding all of the exterior lights; most of the interior lights, which are primarily fluorescent; and 33 fan-powered VAV boxes for the heating, ventilating and air conditioning system. They also feed two 75 kVA, 480/208-volt transformers, which, in turn, feed two 200-amp, 120/208-volt, 84 circuit, double-tub panelboards. These panelboards feed all the general-purpose receptacles, flush floor boxes, appliances, owner’s equipment and incandescent lighting,” Kosmides said.

The Minnesotan winter and some severe weather provided common contracting challenges. “This project was started in the fall, and the crew faced a very cold winter that required the ground to be thawed out before work could begin,” Kosmides said. “Also, during the spring, we had a tornado rip through the site that destroyed our office trailer and a truck. Luckily, this happened after our crew left for the day.” Those weather incidents could have set back the project, but OlympiaTech Electric was able to finish on time.

Education expert
OlympiaTech Electric immediately launched into another education-related project called Partners in Excellence of Minnesota. It is a private educational and activity facility for children with autism, autism spectrum disorders and/or motor disabilities. The facility was constructed within an existing converted warehouse. OlympiaTech Electric came on board at project inception in May 2005, and it was a fast-track project, lasting only eight weeks.

Partners in Excellence was a 40,000-square-foot electrical project that proceeded from the ground up. It included the design and installation of a new electrical service, electrical distribution system, lighting, power devices, mechanical equipment and low-voltage systems. The facility includes a gymnasium, therapeutic pool, visitor atrium, activity rooms, elevators, classrooms and administrative offices.

OlympiaTech replaced an existing single-phase 240/120-volt utility transformer with a three-phase 208/120-volt transformer to provide the building with up-to-date, 800-amp, three-phase, 120/208-volt service. It removed the existing lighting conduits and boxes to provide a clean building shell to begin the construction process, and it set new rooftop units. The contractor took special care to review the design drawings with the owner to ensure the precise location of the receptacles, light switches and phone/data outlets for convenience and safety. The owner selected combinations of lighting fixtures to provide both function and economy.

OlympiaTech also paid special attention to the code requirements for fire alarms and the Americans with Disabilities Act for a school facility. Being a private facility with a tight budget, OlympiaTech Electric worked closely with the owner, architect and the general contractor to maximize the value of the electrical package of materials and installation.

Kosmides said the biggest challenge was the eight-week construction schedule—from demolition to occupancy—to complete the project.

“Owner-initiated change orders, vendor shipping delays and poor access to the site caused by other construction in the area added to the challenge of completing the job,” he said.

STONG-MICHAS, a freelance writer, lives in central Pennsylvania. She can be reached via e-mail at JenLeahS@msn.com.