NEIU El Centro

Chicago, Illinois


Michael Gramarossa

Mechanical Option



Student Biography

Building Statistics
Thesis Abstract
Technical Assignments
Thesis Proposal
Final Report

Senior Thesis e-Studio


Building Statistics - Part I

Project Summary___________________________________________________
Building Name:
Building Occupant Name:
Occupancy Type:
Stories above Grade:
Dates of Construction:
Total Project Cost:
Project Delivery Method:
NEIU El Centro
Chicago, Illinois
Northeastern Illinois University
University classrooms, labs, lounges, etc.
55,000 SF
3 (There is no basement)
May 2013 - September 2014
$15 Million


Project Team______________ __________________________________________
  Owner: Northeastern Illinois University
  Architect: JGMA
  Landscape Architect: Site Design Group
  MEP & FP Engineer: Primera
  Structural Engineer: Forefront
  Civil Engineer: Prism
  General Construction: N/A. This was a multiple prime project
  Construction Manager: N/A. A coordinating contractor was used
  Architecture_______________ __________________________________________
  Architecture: Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU) was founded in 1867 and is ranked the most ethnically diverse university in the Midwest. 11,000 students are served by more than 80 undergraduate and graduate programs at this institution. NEIU is consistently thinking outside the box for innovative and non-traditional education alternatives.
    This project consists of a new 55,000 square foot, 3-story building which serves as the first building to be located on NEIU's new campus. The building will include classrooms, art studios, computer rooms, lecture halls, music studios, wet and damp laboratories, library, student lounge, resource room, and administrative space.
  Major National Codes: City of Chicago Building Code (CBC 2010)
    Chicago Zoning Ordinance (CZO 2010)
    Energy Conservation of the Municipal Code of Chicago
  Zoning: PD-1200 (Planned Development)
    Occupancy Classification C-3/Type II School
  Building Enclosure_________ __________________________________________
  Building Facades:

Nearly the entire building is enveloped in a curtain wall facade. The curtain wall features fins that are designed to limit solar gains on the building and control the amount of natural daylight allowed into the building. The building is located along Kennedy Expressway and will be passed by over 400,000 vehicles each day allowing this facility to act as a billboard for the university. The fins will appear gold when driving into the city, and blue when leaving the city, reflecting the school colors as can be seen in the rendering to the right (courtesy of JGMA).

A single ply membrane consisting of PVC is used for the roofing system on this project PV panels are mounted to the majority of the roof area.  
  Sustainability Features:_____ __________________________________________
  Sustainability: The main sustainability feature of this project is roof-mounted solar photovoltaic panels. Other green initiatives were taken such as low flow plumbing fixtures, high efficiency equipment, and creative lighting that have made this project eligible for a LEED gold rating.


Building Statistics - Part II


Public spaces were designed for 100 psf, corridors for 80 psf, and classrooms for 40 psf. The building has no basement and the foundation consists of concrete footings and grade beams.  The building is framed with ASTM A992 Grade 50 steel.  The first floor is a slab on grade with 6 x 6 - W2.1 x W2.1 WWF.  The slabs on floors two and three consists of 20 gauge galvanized composite steel deck installed for a minimum 3 span continuous system with 4 ½” concrete topping.  Most of the steel framing on floors two and three consists of W18x60 joists and W21x73 girders. The roof consists of 1 1/2” 20 gage metal deck that supports the photovoltaic array.  The lateral force resisting system of El Centro is a moment frame.


Two identical roof top air handling units located on the roof called RTU-1 & RTU-2 handle all of the ventilation and cooling requirements of El Centro.  They are both served by separate air cooled condensing units, also located on the roof.  RTU-1 serves all of the first floor and half of the 2nd floor.  RTU-2 serves half of the 2nd floor and all of the third floor.  The roof top air handling units serve the 71 variable air volume boxes. The buildings heating loads are served by two identical 750 MBH natural gas fired water boilers.  The boiler serves hot water radiant finned tubes that run the length of the perimeter of the building.  The VAV boxes also have reheat coils that are served by the two boilers.  A separate natural gas fired water heater is used for domestic hot water.


Most of the lighting system consists of energy efficient fluorescent fixtures.  Lighting control shall utilize occupancy sensors to reduce wasted energy and dimming to provide users with multiple light level room options.  Spaces with access to natural daylight use photocells to automatically dim or shut off when set point light levels are achieved.  At night, most lights will be turned off based on a time clock to reduce interior lighting power consumption by up to 80%.


The electrical system originates from a dedicated service room on the first floor (480V/277V, 3 phase, 4 wire).  There is a single service for normal power and another service dedicated to the fire pump.  From the service room equipment, the system will distribute out into branch panels located on each floor.  The various loads (i.e. receptacles, lighting, mechanical, and computer) are separated into different panelboards. 


Construction of El Centro began in May of 2013 and was completed in September of 2014.  It was delivered using the design-bid-build method and cost about 15 million dollars.  It was also a Multiple Prime Contractor project.  One of the Prime Contractors acted as the Coordinating Contractor between trades.       

  Fire Protection:

The fire alarm system is a standard Class 1 system consisting of detection and notification devices including ADA required strobes.  The fire protection system is a standard wet-pipe sprinkler system providing coverage to all areas except the electrical and elevator rooms.  The fire protection pump is housed in a dedicated room adjacent to the first floor mechanical room.  Building overhangs have sprinklers and the corridor curtain wall has window washing type sprinkler heads on either side of the glass to maintain corridor fire rating.


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‐inprogress 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 Michael Gramarossa. Changes and discrepancies in no way imply that the original design 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.

This page was last updated on 10.21.2014, by Michael Gramarossa and is hosted by the AE Department ©2014.