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Captain James E. Daly Elementary School

HVAC Equipment Retrofit
Gaithersburg, MD

General Contractor: 
Shapiro & Duncan
Construction Management:  Keller Construction Management
Engineer:  James Posey Associates
Contract Amount:  $2,371,274.00
Start Date:  6/18/16
Completion Date:  8/12/16


Built in 1989, Captain James E. Daly Elementary School is a 78,500-sq. ft. Montgomery County Public School located in Gaithersburg, MD. Shapiro & Duncan’s scope of work was to replace numerous pieces of mechanical equipment throughout the school. This was a “summer school” project that started on June 18, 2016 and finished on August 12, 2016.

Challenges included:

  • The compressed project schedule. Time was not on our side! Within 8 weeks, existing equipment had to be demolished, a wide variety of new components and systems installed, and all equipment tested to ensure 100% operability. Not only did all mechanical systems have to be up and running, but construction crews and equipment had to be out of the building by August 12. That’s when the school’s cleaning crew needed to start getting the building ready for staff, who would be arriving a week before the start of school. In order to clear and wax floors, and to provide a workable environment for staff, tempered air was required.
  • Team coordination. Given the tight completion timeframe and the amount of equipment to be installed, it was essential for the entire team to be in sync from Day One – not only Shapiro & Duncan personnel, but also all of our subcontractors and vendors.
  • Little margin of error in the field. To make the mechanical change-out go as swiftly as possible, with minimal negative impacts, the team would have to focus intently on the installation process for each and every piece of equipment.

Getting numerous pieces of equipment demo’d and in and out of the building.  Timeframe was biggest challenge.


Before the project even started, our solution began with getting the entire team together – Shapiro & Duncan team members, subcontractors and vendors – to review coordination, prefabrication and assembly requirements.

Throughout the early stages of the project, weekly meetings were held to maintain open communication and ensure all parties were staying on top of coordination. By encouraging early involvement by and feedback from all players, the team was able to head off issues in a timely manner and avoid any negative impacts on the overall completion schedule.

Two other key elements of our solution were early equipment release for digital coordination by our Virtual Design Coordination (VDC) team, and prefabrication of piping systems at our 51,000-sq. ft. fabrication shop in Landover, MD.  As Shapiro & Duncan has demonstrated time and again on tight-turnaround projects, coordination and prefabrication are keys to maximizing time and cost efficiency and meeting our commitments to the client.

Upfront preplanning, coordination and prefabrication also paved the way for a more efficient way to ship needed equipment and material to the project site with just in time delivery to ensure ease of receiving and installation. Systems were pulled from the delivery trucks and set in place for quick construction while maintaining overall quality in line with Shapiro & Duncan’s high standards.

Our complete mechanical solution included:

  • Installation of:
    • 25 Trane dual-temp classroom floor mounted unit ventilators;
    • 15 ceiling hung dual temp fan coil units;
    • 6 floor mounted dual-temp fan coil units;
    • 2 Trane energy recovery units with custom curb adapters;
    • 2 rooftop air handling units with pipe portal curbs;
    • 1 Trane air-cooled chiller with new structural steel dunnage;
    • 2 indoor modular Trane air handling units located in the girls and boys toilet mechanical rooms;
    • 5 Trane hydronic cabinet unit heaters located in the second-floor girls and boys toilet mechanical rooms and kitchen area;
    • 12 ABB equipment variable frequency drives serving the chill and hot water pumps and ERU-2, RTU-1 and EF-18;
    • I Trane rooftop variable refrigerant condensing unit;
    • 12 Trane classroom ceiling-mounted variable refrigerant cassette units serving the second-floor computer lab wing;
    • 7 Trane duct-mounted hydronic heating coils serving the first-floor administrative area;
    • 8 Mitsubishi ductless split systems serving the first-floor administrative area and second-floor data closets;
    • 1 Trane modular self-contained rooftop unit with a remote air conditioning unit serving the first-floor media center;
    • 7 Greenheck exhaust fans and curbs;
    • 2 Greenheck multi-purpose room pressure relief hoods with curbs;
    • New air distribution sheet metal and registers, new grills and diffusers and new thermal insulation;
    • 3 Grundfos inline recirculating boiler pumps;
    • 3 chilled and 3 hot water base mounted circulation pumps;
    • 2 Wessels ceiling mounted air separators and floor mounted expansion tanks;
    • New hydronic water treatment system; and
    • Upgraded electrical system and fire alarms/
  • Removing and replacing over 3,000 sq. ft. of 20’ high cafeteria ACT and grid.
  • Removing and replacing over 1,000 sq. ft. of kitchen ACT and grid.
  • Opening and closing over 10,000 sq. ft. of ACT and grid throughout the school to access equipment.
  • Modifying equipment housekeeping concrete pads to accommodate new equipment.
  • Replacing the pneumatic control system with an electronic direct digital control system.
  • Cleaning inside all existing ductwork remaining throughout the first and second floors.
  • Upgrading the sub-level boiler plant with 3 new high-efficiency Fulton hydronic hot water heating boilers, outfitted with a modulating control panel and new stainless steel dual wall boiler flue.
  • Roofing work to accommodate new rooftop equipment.
  • Air and water testing.
  • Adjusting and balancing all system components.
  • Equipment rigging.


By successfully completing this extensive mechanical overhaul of a public school in such a short period of time, Shapiro & Duncan continues to demonstrate that our team is capable of an extraordinary level of hard work and dedication. The Captain James E. Daly Elementary School project once again shows why we are one of the area’s industry leaders in the mechanical field.