the drexel

britnei godusky | lighting + electrical

image courtesy of drexel university


university recreation

philadelphia, pa
















this page was last updated on 04.23.11 by britnei godusky and is hosted by the ae department ©2010


user note:  while great efforts have been taken to provide accurate and complete information on the pages of cpep, please be aware that the information contained herewith is considered a work-in-progress for this thesis project.  modifications and changes related to the original building designs and construction methodologies for this senior thesis project are solely the
interpretation of britnei godusky.  changes  and discrepancies in no way imply that the original designed contained errors or was flawed. differing assumptions, code references, requirements, and methodologies have been incorporated into this thesis project; therefore, investigation results may vary from the original design.

statistics II

 construction information


The Daskalakis expansion wraps around the existing Athletic Center, adding 84,000sf to the existing building and more than doubling the amount of recreation space in Drexel’s athletic center.  Turner Construction won the design-bid-build project with a Guaranteed Maximum Price.  The GMP budget for construction was $31 million with the total final project cost coming in at $42 million. The project broke ground in June 2008, and as an initiative to be environmentally conscious, for every tree that was removed in the facility’s construction a new tree was planted elsewhere on Drexel’s campus. 

The DRC’s overall electrical system is a radial system with one point of 13.2 kV service entrance in the main electrical room in the basement of the Fitness Center. This service entrance is fed from existing PECO service switchgear in the Nesbit Building.  The entrance is powered by a 1500kVA transformer that steps down the voltage from 13.2kV to a 480Y/277V, 3P, 4W voltage system located in a newly constructed substation to feed the new addition as well as the existing substation in the DAC.  A 2500A main distribution system provides power 480Y/277V power to all loads.  Dry-type, step-down transformers feed 208Y/120V, 3P, 4W power to receptacles and appliance loads, while lighting panels use 277V power.  For backup power to emergency branches powering emergency/egress lighting, sewage ejector pumps, existing sump pumps, and boiler controls, the DAC utilizes an indoor diesel emergency generator rated at 350kW, 480Y/277P, 3P, 4W.


The lighting throughout the Drexel Recreation Center successfully creates a bright, energetic space that interacts and responds directly to the architecture and aesthetic intent of the façade and the building within. Direct and reflected glare is avoided and an attractive rendering of people and objects in the space is achieved by the use of mostly indirect lighting to illuminate the task plane. The lighting design was ASHRAE 90.1 compliant using the total building method, and all of the spaces met or exceeded IESNA’s recommended illuminance values.  Just as the glazing on the southern and eastern building façades demands attention in each space in the facility, the continuity of both a cool color temperature of 4100K and the linear response to the façade creates cohesion when transitioning from space to space.


Drexel’s Recreation Center is conditioned by seven direct expansion rooftop air-handling units ranging from 1,880cfm for the lobby to 32,550cfm in the fitness/weight rooms.  Three parallel BHP hot water heaters are located below the gymnasium partner with the 3,000 gallon fuel oil tank located in an underground vault to power the duel heating system.  Four AHUs are variable air volume and three are constant volume, utilizing an associated supply, return, and exhaust duct distribution.  Shell space was provided in the mechanical room for a future water cooled chiller.


The structural system for the facility is based entirely on reinforced concrete.   The one-way slab on grade foundation rests on concrete caissons, with cast-in-place perimeter foundation walls formed above concrete grade beams.  Exposed concrete columns are prevalent throughout the building interior, with additional stories and roof composed of structural concrete flat plate slabs.  The gymnasium roof is supported by a steel truss system designed to support air handling equipment and cooling towers.  The lateral system consists of concrete shear walls in the four gymnasium corners as well as in the space south of the existing DAC.

fire protection

The Rec Center utilizes a full sprinkler system supplied by the city’s water supply and designed in accordance with NFPA 13.  The floor control stations are located in stair towers 3 and 4 and served from a combination sprinkler riser including floor control valve assemblies, test valves, and drains.   A manual fire alarm system is installed with an interfaced control system tied into a campus supervising system.   Activation initiates an emergency voice/alarm communication system with using speaker strobes that are white in color.  Smoke detection is provided in electrical/telecom rooms, above doors controlled by the system, in elevator lobbies, elevator machine rooms, and in HVAC ducts.


Two hydraulic elevators serve the first through third floors of the DRC.  The main stairway is accessed just through the swipe card entrance, and is the primary means of vertical transport between the lobby, gymnasium, and second and third level fitness areas.  Additional staircases are located at the north- and south-eastern corners of the fitness areas, and are primarily used for egress.


The audiovisual system in the athletic center incorporates an audio/paging system through pendant speakers throughout the lobby and fitness area, as well as ceiling mounted speakers in the gymnasium.  LCD screens are located in the climbing lounge, at the east and west lobby entrances, with a total of twenty screens mounted on each floor of the fitness area.  AV equipment rooms are provided on the second and third floors with the second floor space feeding the LCD screens and speakers on the first floor.


Electronic security control modules are located in the main security room east of the electrical room on the ground level beneath the gymnasium .  Each main entrance is controlled by electronic locks with an emergency override located at the security desk.  Electronic locks also guard the gymnasium entrance and each stairway.  A pole mounted security camera monitors the exterior on the eastern and alternate north entrance to the new facility, with interior cameras located in the athletics gallery.  Swipe card access is required to enter the recreation center, and is located beyond the security desk.


Voice and data are provided to the conference rooms, offices, and retail space via 4” PVC sleeves in cable trays mounted within the structural concrete slabs. Emergency phones are located in the elevator lobbies, equipment issue room, gymnasium, retail café, and recreation spaces to provide quick response in case of injury during physical activity.  A fire alarm annunciator with live voice capability is located at the security desk at the east lobby entrance.

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