St. Louis University High School


Historic is a word often used to describe St. Louis University High School (SLUH).  Founded in 1818 and being the oldest high school west of the Mississippi river, SLUH is the premier Jesuit boy’s college prep high school in the country.  Has been for over 200 years.  Having had many expansions over the course of the last 40 years, the 1935 building that fronts the school is historic in age, antiquity, history and tradition.  This landmark of the school also presents unique heating and cooling challenges for facilities manager Joe Rankin and facilities superintendent, Rick Figge. 

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Joe and Rick called upon Shawn Intagliata (SLUH alum ’77) of Cobalt Creed to solve a unique HVAC challenge in the soon to be remodeled Ignatian Conference Room. This room houses a 40-person conference table and the original Jesuit chapel built in 1935. The chapel has relics, artifacts and statues of various Saints carved in wood by Jesuit priests over the last 90 years. Quite a challenge.

The solution was to install 3-5 ton Unico add-on heat pumps with hot water coil back up off of the central boiler system.  The units are staged so that each system comes on based upon load, thermostat settings and humidity levels.  Because the chiller was failing and to make the installation (and the future installations) more “plug and play”, the outdoor heat pumps for each unit was installed on the roof.

The results-Both Joe and Rick are amazed at the comfort. The humidity level in the room is consistently at 48% or lower depending on the season. Before the Cobalt solution, the plaster in the room had been crumbling off of the walls because the old system could not manage relative humidity. As Rick says “I walk from the old chiller cooled area and into the Ignatian and the comfort difference is incredible. The Cobalt solution dehumidifies even on the hottest, most humid summer day in July.

Quiet and even, you do not even know it is running unless you feel the air at the outlets. We are very pleased.” Joe Rankin, head of facilities appreciated the installation savings. “We had talked to other firms including some of the largest mechanical firms in St. Louis. The cost of the Cobalt solution was 40% less any mechanical could do this for. None of them came with a Unico solution like Cobalt. We are going to do the rest of the 1935 building with this same solution.”