Washburn University Mechanical and Electrical Improvements

Date Completed

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Washburn University’s Petro Allied Health Center houses a college basketball arena, indoor swimming facility and locker rooms, exercise rooms, offices and classrooms.

The original HVAC systems were still in use from building construction in 1982, so the university needed to upgrade the HVAC system.


The chiller system was replaced with a water-cooled, centrifugal chiller and new pumping system. The centrifugal chillers and variable flow pumping scheme provide a system with greater efficiencies and payback for the initial investment within five to seven years.

Construction was required to separate the air handling units from the new chiller while maintaining existing airflow paths. The chiller room was not accessible to an exterior wall without significant demolition of one of the building’s main entries. Other equipment room walls were shared with the indoor swimming pool locker room and two floors of classrooms.

Bartlett & West dismantled the chiller completely down to the compressor into multiple parts due to the small size and the weight limitations of the corridor that the equipment had to be moved through. After the chiller components were moved into the room, the chiller was reassembled.


Washburn University’s students, staff and visitors now enjoy a more comfortable health center. The building boasts an HVAC system that meets 21st century standards and will provide many years of efficient service. A comfortable, up-to-date athletic facility will enable the university to attract and retain students, student-athletes and staff members for years to come. A strong local university benefits the entire Topeka community.