Schoolcraft College commissioned IDS to do a total overhaul of their IT infrastructure including the renovation of their existing data center and the installation of a new campus wide fiber optic network. The scope of work was not new to the team of architects and engineers at IDS but a few small details added major complexity to the project. The existing data center was housed in an old classroom without the ability to relocate any of the equipment, requiring full renovation with absolutely no downtime.
In Phase 1, IDS designed and managed the installation of the brand new underground fiber optic ring to feed the communication network around campus. The second part of the project was a full update and renovation of the data center. Over time, this old classroom had grown into a full data center but now needed new power equipment, data racks and cooling equipment.
To manage the added challenge of no downtime during construction, the IDS team orchestrated a focused design process from start to finish. Principal-in-Charge Mike Nowicki puts this in perspective. It’s like changing the tires on your car as you’re driving down the freeway, he said. The final result was the due to the great communication and collaboration between internal and external team members working together to find creative and appropriate solutions. The final design documents for the project were like a set of do-it-yourself, step-by-step instructions!
The solutions were creative. Architectural, mechanical and electrical team members worked closely from beginning to end of the project. IDS Engineer Dominic Paone gives an example of how the team made it work. ‚ÄúThe floor was being replaced and we could not remove anything from the room so the solution was to hang the equipment from the ceiling and build a dust partition around it to protect it, said Paone. We constantly asked each other, How are we going to this? And from there, we built it. To execute the renovation, a temporary infrastructure was first built to create space that was necessary to do the actual work.
This inter-disciplinary collaboration was evident to all who worked on the project. From an electrical standpoint, we had to create temporary power supplies with dual-corded long cabling so the equipment would continue to run while it was moved around. IDS engineer Mike Barden remembers. I feel that this project really demonstrates the best of IDS and demonstrates our expertise to work through complicated renovations which comes from years of working together!
The project was completed in February 2011 with absolutely zero downtime.