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Georgetown Preparatory School Athletic Center

Rockville, MD

General Contractor:  Hess Construction
Architect/Engineer:  Leo A. Daley
Contract Amount:  $5,199,843
Start Date:  6/1/2005
Completion Date:  7/31/2006


The new state-of-the art athletic center at Georgetown Preparatory School in Bethesda, Maryland has it all – weight room, natatorium, gymnasium, fitness center and 50,000 square-foot field house containing an indoor track and four practice courts. For Shapiro & Duncan, this was a challenging mechanical construction project on several levels – literally. Our scope of work included a boiler room at a very low elevation, a mechanical room in the penthouse, and air handling units on the rooftop.

Another challenge was the short period of time we had to build and install the required systems and components, which included cooling towers, boilers, pumping systems, infrared heaters makeup air units and the aforementioned rooftop air handling units.

In addition, we had to overcome an internal environmental challenge unique to an athletic center of this magnitude. Next to the gym and its hardwood floors is a swimming pool. Adjacent is an indoor track facility. Each of these facilities requires different temperature control environments and humidity levels.


The natatorium required extensive dehumidification because of its proximity to the gymnasium with its hardwood flooring. We used fabric ductwork in the gymnasium, natatorium, field house and wrestling room to distribute conditioned air in a quiet and efficient manner. In the field house, the air is tempered by infrared heaters in conjunction with outside gas-heated air units.

The penthouse mechanical room, meanwhile, houses the chillers and pumping systems to provide cooling along with a roof mounted cooling tower. Gas fired boilers, located below the field house, provide heating water to variable air volume (VAV) boxes with hot water coils, baseboard heaters and rooftop air handling unit heating coils. An elaborate plumbing system serves the swimming pool, private and public toilet rooms and showers.


Our team finished all work on time and in the process established a great relationship with the prime contractor, Hess Construction. The customer was so pleased with our work that we were awarded the mechanical systems contract for the new Georgetown Prep Learning Center. This 61,500 square-foot project includes converting the old gymnasium into a media center and constructing a new addition.

In addition, Shapiro & Duncan received a 2007 Excellence in Construction Award from the Associated Builders and Contractors.