National Park Service Paradise Inn Annex and Snow Bridge Rehabilitation

RSA Engineering provided mechanical and electrical surveys, design services and construction phase services for this rehabilitation project. The Paradise Inn Annex is a four-story structure with 90 guest rooms that is connected to the main hotel building via a multi-level walkway called the Snow Bridge. The Inn was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1987. The rehabilitation project brings the structure into compliance with current building codes, replaces dilapidated equipment, refurbishes spaces to a more accurate historic appearance and increases building energy conservation. RSA performed pre-design surveys of the existing plumbing, HVAC, fire protection, fire alarm, telecommunication, and electrical systems. Mechanical design scope included complete replacement of all infrastructure. New plumbing piping and fixtures were installed throughout, providing access and means for complete drain down of the system during winter months. The plumbing system included two new 600-gallon electric water heaters, hi-low mixing station and recirculation pumps. The heating system consisted of wall mounted electric heating registers with wall mounted thermostats. The ventilation system utilized constant volume exhaust and make up air fans passing through a heat exchanger for heat recovery, and a duct mounted electric heater for tempering supply air. Guest rooms were provided with operable windows for additional ventilation. The building was provided with an entirely new NFPA dry fire sprinkler protection system, which included dry standpipes in the stairwells. Electrical design scope included complete replacement of all infrastructure. The lighting system included all new luminaires whose selection was coordinated to match the original design of the Annex as best as possible. Screw-base LED bulbs, which could be purchased locally, were provided for convenience and to reduce the energy consumption and overall power demand of the facility. A new central emergency lighting inverter system was provided for the Annex and Snow Bridge for its emergency egress illumination which also mitigated an existing Code deficiency. The electrical power system included a new service, all new distribution equipment and feeders, new grounding system, a new lightning protection system, and all new branch wiring and devices. Receptacle counts were increased within the sleeping rooms to meet the latest Code requirements. The telecommunication design included all new telecommunication devices and wiring. The fire alarm design included all new devices and wiring. Design work included making accommodations to help the Concessionaire streamline its winterization process to allow the building to sit unoccupied and unheated during the winter months while buried under snow.

The Paradise Inn Annex, located in the Mt. Rainier National Park, won an award from the American Council of Engineering Companies in Washington’s annual Engineering Excellence Awards (ACEC) program. This challenging project received a “Gold Award” in the category of “Complexity”. Reid Middleton was the structural engineering firm on this RIM project for the National Park Service.

Two elements contributed to the complexity of the project. First, the existing stone foundation required replacement. Retaining the historical integrity of the stone foundation was important. The exterior of the building was 3D scanned, drawings of the foundation walls located each stone and provided identification for labeling during the disassembly process. After being modified as veneer, each stone was reinstalled in its original position. Second, even more creative measures were required to adhere to the requirements for working on an historic building. For example, a previous concept included a mechanical penthouse over an existing stair tower. Although this kept added load off the existing attic framework, it would have changed the exterior appearance of the historic structure. The design team investigated the existing attic and found a former attic access abandoned in a previous renovation project. The location still included framing suitable for an access opening and was utilized. Added wood beams within the depth of the existing framing supplement the capacity for new mechanical units in the attic.

Size – 23,650 SF
Total approximate cost – $24.5M

  • Categories: Public Service
  • Client: RIM Architects
  • Owner: National Park Service