The Criminal: Gary Welch
The Crime: HVAC Design
The Sentence: 72 Hours of hard time at the Marin County Jail
The ironic “Welcome” sign at Marin County Jail
When you pass through the security entrance and into the jail for the first time you can’t help but feel a tightness in our stomach. The “jail house odor”, a mixture of cleaning chemicals, sweat and god knows what else, hits you right away. The steel doors and concrete walls and roof provide anything but a welcoming experience. The entrance sign says, “Welcome to Marin Jail” but I have to think this was created by someone with a sick sense of humor. No one wants to be “welcomed” here.
The challenge for this project was that we needed to replace the 60 ton air conditioning unit serving the facility, while it remained occupied. The sheriffs department determined that the maximum period the air handling system could be shut down was 72 hours.
After reviewing the shutdown issue with the facility staff and the sheriffs department that manages the facility, a plan of attack was developed. The facility and staff could manage without a ventilation and air conditioning system for a 72 hour period over a single weekend.15000 Inc. was engaged by the County of Marin Public Works Department to tackle a challenging task. Design the replacement of an existing 25,000 CFM air handler serving the jail. Of course, since its a jail, it cannot be shutdown.
Based on this, the design and constructability plans were developed to achieve this tight time frame.
The rooftop air handler. You can just see the iconic spire of the Marin Civic Center in the background.
Doing construction inside a jail is a serious security risk for the jail. Everyone requires background checks and no movement can occur without an escort.
Planning and staging will be the key to a successful project. The 72 hour time period will occur over a weekend in October. I’ve committed to be onsite for the majority of the time to help make on-the-spot decisions when problems occur.
For all involved, it will be 72 hours of hard time at the Marin County Jail.
Stay tuned for future updates.