In 1996, the US Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) issued a request for proposal under an enhanced use lease program for the development and management of a 900 space parking facility at the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center in Chicago. MEDPark, Inc, Rich & Associates’ parking development affiliate, was successfully chosen out of eight competing proposals to develop the project.
During the next, three to four years variations of the project were explored by the design/development team and the DVA. In the end, the project grew in size and scope. A 110,000 s.f. office building for the DVA’s Veterans Benefits Administration was added to the project and the parking garage increased to 1,600 spaces. MEDPark and Rich & Associates (MR) acted as developer and designer on a turnkey basis for both facilities. The garage was finished and opened approximately one month ahead of schedule.
The parking garage design incorporated all the latest design criteria in 2003, including state of the art security systems, equipment, and lighting. In 2013, MR, through our design of other parking garages across the country, began to explore new technologies in the parking industry including new security systems and lighting. MR was introduced to new 180-degree camera technology that could be used in parking garages. Impressed with the technology, a meeting was arranged in Chicago for a demonstration in the garage. MR wanted representatives of the VAMC to observe the new technology.
Representatives of the VAMC were impressed with the technology and approved further investigation and pricing to replace the original security system that had been in place since 2003. During that meeting, the VAMC representatives asked MR what else was new in the parking industry that could be applied to their parking garage. MR discussed advancements in LED lighting and how it is the new standard, and how staining the ceilings white in critical areas throughout a parking garage enhances the interior environment. MR also discussed how some garages were being designed with security screening around the entire garage on every level, including 12-foot tall screening on the roof level.
The VAMC asked us to proceed with planning and pricing for all of the improvements including the new 180-degree security cameras, LED light fixtures, staining select ceiling areas white, as well as the security screening
The following is a description of the improvements that were executed.
The original security system included 88 fixed lens cameras covering all seven floors of the garage. These were replaced with 52, 180-degree cameras plus 26 fixed, wide angle lens cameras.
The garage is approximately 300 feet long north to south and 4 modules wide. The 180-degree cameras were placed on the south wall of each module facing north to cover the area from the south wall mid-way to a second set of 180-degree cameras approximately center of the garage facing north to cover that area up to the north wall (See Exhibit 1).
The basic 180-degree camera consists of 4 small 45 degree cameras in one housing, creating an 180-degree view. Each of the 4 individual cameras can be selected to an enlarged view in real time (See Exhibit 2).
During this remodeling, the entire recording system for all cameras was increased from 60 days to 90 days at the request of the VAMC. All of the new cameras are IP so they can be viewed by anyone remotely via the Internet, with an access code. This provides MR the ability to view garage from our home office in Southfield, Michigan.
Since all of the garage lights are on 24 hours per day, as requested by the VAMC, energy and cost savings was critical. MR had been looking at three different manufacturers of LED fixtures for other parking garages. Two of the most promising manufacturers were asked to submit 4 fixtures each, that were then installed in the VAMC parking garage so that our team and the VAMC could compare the fixtures to the existing lighting and to each other. The Kenall Tekdek™ fixture was chosen.
The existing lighting consisted of a total of 613, 215 watt, metal Halide fixtures. The new placement LED fixtures are 104 watts resulting in a power saving of 47%. The replacement package consisted of 613 new LED fixtures, plus an additional 56 fixtures centered over the drive aisle of the two interior modules to enhance the lighting (See Exhibit 3).
The roof lighting consisted of 6 poles, 4 lights on each pole of 250 watts. By the time the wattage of the ballasts for each fixture was added, the total wattage was 295 watts per fixture. The LED lighting on 6 poles were only 73 watts per fixture, for a savings of 75% of energy.
Security screen was added to the top of the parapet walls to the underside of the floors above on each interior floor. On the roof level, a 12-foot screen wall was added to the parapits, with the top of the screen angled 45 degrees toward the parking side to make it difficult to reach over (See Exhibit 4). Initial staining has started on the first-floor ceiling over the handicapped parking area which has dramatically improved the effect of new lighting and white ceiling.