Government officials and construction contractors today unveiled several planned upgrades for the Birch Bayh Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse north of Ohio Street between Meridian and Pennsylvania streets. The $69.3-million project, funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, is slated for completion by August 2012. It will employ between 90 and 150 construction workers from 23 contractors, most based in central Indiana. The trickiest part of the project is to modernize the 1905 building while preserving its historic character, said Matthew Chalifoux (pictured above), a principal in New York-based EYP Architecture & Engineering. The general contractor on the project is locally based Shiel Sexton. Among the planned inprovements:
- Install a system to harvest rainwater from the roof and divert it from the city's stormwater system. The water will be collected in five 2,000-gallon tanks, which will be used to supply water to the building's toilet fixtures. That should reduce the building's water use by 30 percent.
- Grow a green roof. The plans call for a mix of drought-resistant plants that cover 30,000 square feet of roof space, making it the largest green roof in the city. The GSA says the plants will double the roof's life and add as much oxygen to the air as 18 trees.
- Install 3,725 sprinkler heads served by more than 10 miles of sprinkler line to protect the entire building. The installation, which will preserve the structure's historic decor, should improve life safety by 74 percent.
- Switch to digital controls for the building's heating and cooling systems. The switch could save 10 percent on utility bills by streamlining from 300 manual controls to one keyboard.