The 10-story, 180,000 square foot Cesar E. Chavez Federal Memorial Building was constructed in 1984. Almost 30 years later, the structures glass and aluminum curtain-wall skin has deteriorated to the point of needing replacement, as has much of the building’s mechanical, fire safety utility, and other systems. To bring the property into the 21st Century and position it for another generation of federal service, a $33 million reconstruction/renovation is underway, paid for in part by the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds.
The reskinning of the office building and other upgrades has improved the building’s energy efficiency by 30% with the entire project aiming for LEED Silver certification. The parking garage was replaced with a new garage at the same location, which includes photo-voltaic cells on the roof that generates 5% of the property’s energy needs. Other modernization and green-building improvements include energy efficient mechanical and lighting controls, elevator upgrades, lobby expansion and renovation, replacement of ceilings, emergency generator replacement, a new recycling center, upgrading interior and exterior finishes, blast mitigation upgrade to the curtain wall, and a new fire alarm system.
The process of reskinning the building took place while employees were still working in the building. The contractor installed temporary partitions a few feet in from the exterior walls on each floor along one of the building’s elevations. The old curtain wall was removed and a new façade was installed, while office workers inside remained protected from all the elements. Once the first side was finished, the process was repeated on the next building elevation. Also, sections of each floor were closed down to allow for the renovation of interior elements. The entire project is scheduled for completion by December 2012.