Welcome to the Capitol Preservation Board Blog on the Executive Office Building.

With the Utah State Capitol Base Isolation and Renovation complete the Board has requested the Executive Director to move forward with studying phase five of the master plan – The Executive Office Building.

This blog will provide current information on the study as it progresses.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


During the first day of the workshop on the State Office Building the project definition team provided their findings to the working group. These findings are as follows:

Structural Issues – Summary of Primary Issues

-The original State Office Building was designed in 1959. The design did not deliberately address seismic loading.
-Structural Renovation in the early 1990’s included the addition of significant reinforcement to the existing steel frame.
-Analysis of the retrofitted building indicates that its performance is significantly improved over the original design. However, the expected seismic performance of the steel frame in consideration of a large, rare seismic event is marginal.
-Project seismic drifts are large and will result in significant nonstructural damage and potential instabilities at the lower levels.
-Cladding and cladding attachments will likely fail even for a small quake resulting in cladding falling from the building.
-Building expansion joints do not have sufficient width to prevent pounding across the joints. Seismic motion will cause severe structural damage at the joints.

Mechanical - Summary of Issues:

-Heating and chilled water are provided to the SOB from the new central plant.
-Two chillers are present in the SOB, but are only used when chillers in the central plant are down. These two chillers in the SOB are in excess of 20 years old and use a refrigerant that will be phased out.
-The cooling tower on the roof of the SOB is used when the 2 chillers in the basement are running. Tower is original equipment. Tower fill and basin are worn out, should be replaced.
-Two air handlers located in the basement of the SOB provide air for heating and cooling all floors of the building. Fans are original equipment, and could be replaced by more energy efficient modern fans. Some coils in the units have frozen and have not been replaced.
-Many of the controllers on individual VAV boxes (part of the air system) are more than 20 years old and are failing, need to be replaced.
-Ductwork for air distribution is a combination of old and new ducts. Due to numerous contractors working on the system over the years, it is safe to assume the ducts leak, which results in increased energy consumption.
-Existing duct risers do not appear to be enclosed inside fire rated shafts and are not protected with fire/smoke dampers. System does not appear to comply with latest life/safety code requirements.

Anticipated Usable Life Remaining in the Existing Mechanical Systems:

Component - Age - Anticipated Remaining Life
-Heating Water Pumps - New- 35 years
-Chilled Water Pumps - New - 35 years
-Chillers -20+ years - 20 years in stand-by mode (1)
-Variable Frequency Drives - New - 20 years
-VAV Box Controllers - 19 to 23 years - None
-Air Handler Fans - 50 years -Indefinite (2)

(1) Compressors were recently rebuilt, but chillers use a refrigerant that is scheduled for phase-out in the near future, do not have the same controls options found on the new chillers in the central plant, and are not as efficient as modern chillers.

(2) Fan bearings may require replacement over the years. Older fans not as efficient as modern units.

Electrical: Power, Lighting, Fire Alarm and Voice/Data Cabling - Summary of Issues

-The 15 kV switchgear and distribution feeding the building is old, original equipment and is beyond its useful life. It is radial-fed (without redundant paths) from the central plant and is a high-risk single-point of failure for the building. This switchgear and distribution should be replaced with new on a looped distribution system. In addition, the transformers for the building should be replaced based on age.

-The electrical distribution system in the building has been partially replaced and added to over the years. While some of the equipment is new, it was not originally designed to accommodate modern office needs. Many of the electrical panels and rooms are filled to capacity with little room for growth and flexibility. The building electrical distribution system should be replaced in its entirety with new, and located in new, stacked electrical closets.

-Most branch wiring is required to be replaced due to the remodeling that will occur. Problems associated with grounding and power quality have also been reported, which should be corrected with the new branch wiring.

-Lighting is predominantly fluorescent. Many of the fixtures still use T12 lamps with magnetic ballasts. About 1/2 of the fixtures have been retrofitted or provided new with T8 lamps and electronic ballasts. More energy efficient lighting systems are available today and an overall lighting replacement is recommended to improve efficiency. Lighting controls will also be enhanced and added to reduce energy consumption.

-Emergency and standby power will be added to meet current code requirements. Communications rooms and associated cooling will also be added to the generator system to back up the critical data operations in the building.

-Ideally, the fire alarm system should be replaced with a new system so that the building can be consistent with the other buildings and integrated into the computerized graphical annunciation software.

-Telecommunications rooms are overheated and too small to meet current codes and standards. Much of the telecommunications cabling is the older standard CAT 3 and CAT 5 cabling that will not support higher speeds that the new CAT 6 standard will support. New telecommunications closets and cabling is required to bring the building up to current standards and provide a more reliable, high-speed network.

Wireless Wan Communications - Summary of Issues:

-The state communications network consists of an extensive microwave system plus a fiber optic network. These two systems provide the redundancy necessary for the critical operations of the state communications needs.

-If the State Office Building is removed, the antennas for the microwave network located on the roof plus the electronic equipment located in the penthouse will need to be relocated. The traffic on this system will need to be maintained and remain in service during the construction phase. The recommendations below permanently relocates the microwave equipment to other locations and would not require moving that equipment back to the new State Office Building.

Three backbone microwave paths are presently in service
· One to the Ogden area via Ensign Peak
· One to the University of Utah
· One to the Technical Operations Center
Two spur microwave paths are presently in service
· One to the BLM
· One to the FBI
Additional communications systems
· Several communications systems for Homeland Security
· At least two cellular telephone companies (the cell companies are responsible to relocate to other facilities if required by the state)
A DACS is located in the penthouse and is used for grooming T1 traffic


-Install a fiber optic loop with new fiber installed in existing UDOT conduit between the Cal Rampton building and a splice location near Highland Drive.
-Obtain use of fibers in an existing cable owned by the university between ECCLES and the splice location near Highland Drive.
-Relocate the Ensign Peak microwave equipment form SOB to either ECCLES or TOC.
-Relocate the FBI and BLM microwave equipment to alternate locations.
-Relocate the Homeland Security equipment to an alternate location.
-Relocate the DACS equipment to the data center.

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