“How cool would that be to walk a wire across Niagara Falls!” Those were the thoughts of a young Nik Wallenda the first time he visited the Falls with his family while his parents were performing in Buffalo. Nik admits that might sound strange to most people, but being part of the seventh generation of Wallendas who continue in the family tradition, “It’s sort of in the blood,” he says.
Fast forward about 25 years. To make his longtime dream a reality, serious lobbying of US and Canadian officials began twenty months before the walk actually took place. The New York State Assembly passed a bill that granted a onetime anti-stunting law exemption early on in the process, however Ontario Canada’s Niagara Parks Commission (NPC) didn’t grant their approval until four months before the event.
On June 15, 2012, Nik Wallenda became the first person to perform a tightrope skywalk over Niagara Falls since 1896. His successful crossing was performed in front of nearly 200,000 spectators and millions of television viewers across the world. “All my attention is focused right there on that wire and nothing else,” Nik stated. “It’s me and that wire in our own world.”
A key factor in Wallenda’s success rested on finding the right contractor to install the cable: experts who possessed the resources and equipment to rig and stabilize an 1800-foot span of wire rope without the use of guy-wires. He found what he was looking for in NECA Contractor O’Connell Electric and the IBEW Local 1249 tradesmen who work for them.
O’Connell was selected to install Wallenda’s custom made wire rope from among several qualified contractors in the region.
To perform the installation, O’Connell assembled a crew of ten men who were divided into two teams, one on either side of the border. Four days prior to the event, they mobilized and began staging equipment at strategically placed anchor points where micropiles had been drilled and mortared into bedrock.
Wallenda’s 2-inch diameter custom wire rope weighed over seven pounds per linear foot, more than eight tons in all. Too heavy for a helicopter to carry across the gorge, a synthetic rope was used instead. The rope was flown from Table Rock in Canada to Terrapin Point in the US where it was secured to the pulling end of the cable. A swivel fitting allowed the cable to spin freely as it was being fed off the tensioner and keep it from becoming damaged while a turnblock provided the two-part purchase that enabled the rope to meet pulling tensions of around 30,000 pounds.
Pulling of the cable was managed through continual communications between the operator of a large tensioner on the US side, the operator of a puller anchored to the Canadian side, and several spotters who were their eyes for everything in between.
The cable made the Canadian side at 3:30 a.m. Once through the crane pulley, grips were attached to the lead end of the cable so it could be disengaged from the puller and secured in an aligned position with the anchor yoke. Four grips were then attached further back on the cable to make up the rest of the distance. By 8:40 a.m. the anchor pin was set and the cable was secure. Final cable tensioning to 65,000 pounds was achieved between the cranes on either side of the gorge. After crews finished securing the two sites, a 27-hour shift had come to a close.
After a brief rest, crews were back on the job that evening to stabilize the cable. Two by two they journeyed out onto the cable in custom-made baskets from both locations; the very path Nik would take two nights later. Working their way along the wire and out over the Falls, they inspected the cable and secured pendulum anchors every 150 feet to counteract rolling and bouncing of the wire. A small weather station was attached in the center of the wire to monitor the unpredictable micro weather conditions generated by the Falls.
During the walk itself, two O’Connell crews were staged in bucket trucks at each end of the wire. They were prepared to rush to Nik’s aid as first responders in the O’Connell baskets, if necessary. Proving to be the professional athlete that he is, no aid was required. Nik made his 25-minute trek between countries look easy. Within an hour of Nik presenting papers to Canadian customs officials, O’Connell had begun the cable dismantling process. Within 24 hours, O’Connell crews had the cable coiled back onto the truck and their equipment off of both sites, leaving no evidence that they had ever been there.
Nik has aptly stated in numerous interviews that his dream would have never been realized apart from the dedication and expertise of O’Connell Electric and the IBEW Local 1249 tradesmen. We are grateful to have had the privilege to contribute to this historic event.
Next stop, the Grand Canyon.
A month before the walk, O’Connell installed a practice cable at the Seneca Niagara Casino that was identical to the one pulled across the Niagara River gorge for the big event, only slightly shorter. Open to the public, Nik practiced for eleven days, just a block away from the American Falls. To help simulate conditions he might encounter over the Falls, he incorporated a large, high-powered fan and fire hose spray into his daily workouts.
Rail accounts for 19% of all statewide freight flows in Alabama. The Norfolk Southern Railway is a major U.S. freight railroad company that operates 21,500 route miles of track across 22 eastern states including more than 50% of Alabama’s Class I track.
In tandem with priorities and goals outlined in the Alabama Department of Transportation’s “Alabama Rail Plan”, Norfolk Southern’s modernization and expansion initiatives targeted three vertical lift bridges in Alabama and the Norfolk Southern Lake Pontchartrain Rolling Bascule Bridge in Louisiana, the longest rail bridge in the country at 5.8 miles, for upgrade, rehabilitation, and remote control operation. These four bridges are not only critical to Norfolk Southern’s transportation grid, they are integral to the management of Alabama’s nearly 1500 mile system of navigable inland waterways, part of a network connecting 24 states.
O’Connell Electric is one of a select few electrical contractors in the country qualified to bid on this type of work. Norfolk Southern awarded our Transportation Division contracts totaling $5.9 million to rehabilitate the electrical and operating systems of the four bridges—rail and waterway—and upgrade them for remote control operation from a central site. O’Connell coordinated and supervised all machinery replacements for the bridges including new motors, brakes, span locks, and switches as well as installation of new generator platforms and numerous structural repairs.
Innovative project management and construction measures were key to O’Connell’s success and efficiency across the four remote bridge sites. A combination of well-planned prefabrication measures and deployment of custom fabrication trailers fully outfitted with tools and office communications greatly reduced lost job site time. O’Connell ingenuity was responsible for onsite rigging and hoisting systems as well as machinery and equipment replacement practices that eliminated the need for employing barges and cranes or for necessitating marine and rail traffic interruptions. In one instance we were able to place a 4000-pound 125KW generator through a machine room floor hatch more than 100 feet off the ground and rig it over the top of existing equipment within a one-hour rail traffic window.
When centralization of bridge remote operational systems was changed from Norfolk Southern’s Birmingham control center to the Decatur, Alabama, Norfolk Southern Tennessee River Bridge site, O’Connell designed and implemented all necessary modifications and additions for the site including new buildings and building amenities, service and power generation systems, and expanded electrical and communications infrastructures. Working closely with our IT subcontractor, O’Connell developed data logging systems across the four bridge network with remote access capabilities, via Norfolk Southern’s intranet, allowing instant review of all bridge operational data for diagnosing potential faults and to determine override measures in emergency situations.
Norfolk Southern’s Signals and Communications divisions contracted with O’Connell later in the project to design and construct a series of new signal and communications buildings, electrical and data wiring, and camera, intercom, and antennae systems.
All work for the four bridge project was completed on time and without disruption to marine or rail traffic. O’Connell has also worked on Norfolk Southern projects in Ohio and Chicago.
New York State Office of General Services put out a bid notice for installation of a comprehensive audio and video monitoring system at Albion Correctional Facility in Upstate, New York. With a history dating back to 1892, Albion is a medium security women’s prison run by the New York State Department of Correctional Services—one of six female facilities in the State.
O’Connell has project experience at more than 65 correctional facilities and prisons across New York. We were awarded a $5 million contract to install the new audio and video monitoring system at Albion as general contractor for the project. Work involved construction and excavation between the primary control center and 24 other buildings being monitored. Included were installation of 400 color closed-circuit television cameras (CCTV) inside and out, 300 high-sensitivity boundary microphones that utilize walls for sound pick-up, and remote equipment racks at each of the 24 buildings. O’Connell also constructed the climate-regulated control room that features 21 seven-foot-high equipment cabinets for the head-end digital recording system, CCTV matrix switch, fiber optic interface equipment, and several interface consoles.
O’Connell needed to position, aim, and focus each CCTV camera precisely to achieve zero blind-spots and optimum clarity. The audio system required our professional expertise and fine-tuning to optimize microphone positioning as well as system component settings and sound level adjustments to capture the maximum range from each site. O’Connell installed all electrical and communications conduit, cable, and wire for the project, often cutting and drilling through concrete walls and foundations to gain access to a diverse collection of structures.
O’Connell’s experience working at prison facilities ensured that there were no security breaches during the project and no employee, inmate incidents. Our work was completed within the original 20-month time allotment with no safety related incidents.
Underground salt mining has been a profitable industry in Western New York for more than 150 years. Over the decades, a network of active mining operations in the region grew to encompass an area larger than Manhattan. In the early 1990s, a chain reaction of flooding forced the shutdown of these mines. Several years later, American Rock Salt purchased the mineral rights for 10,000 acres of undisturbed underground salt reserves along with 200 surface acres near Mount Morris, New York, for the establishment of a new mine. From the initial ground breaking, American Rock Salt mine took more than three years to build and was the first underground salt mine constructed in the U.S. since the 1950s. Today, it is the largest single producer of salt in the country, supplying nearly 10% of the nation’s total salt needs.
Through the experience, leadership, and diligence of our project management team, O’Connell was hired to provide all aspects of electrical, substation, and transmission construction for this landmark project. We were awarded the work under multiple contracts not only from the owner and developer, but also from the various contractors responsible for specialized construction at the site.
Before construction of the mine could begin, O’Connell was tasked with providing temporary power to the site. For eighteen months we maintained a 34KV system that powered equipment involved in the sinking and lining of the mine’s two 1200-foot-deep mine shafts, the ventilation systems, and all lighting.
Because a power tie-in did not exist for the new mine, the utility had to build a new substation to service the facility. O’Connell has hired to constructed the permanent 18MVA power distribution substation located at the site along with the five miles of overhead 115KV transmission line to connect the two. Governed by land use management initiatives that are in place to protect and preserve the region’s watershed and unique soil quality, installation of the transmission lines across the Genesee Valley required our close involvement and coordination with the New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets.
The electrical construction portion of our work encompassed everything from the substation to all the aboveground and underground facilities to the truck and rail load-out systems. This included all mining, crushing, and conveyance operations, the site’s automated computer control network, permanent lighting, and electrical equipment. We also installed the fiber optic and communications networks that service the computer control, data, security, fire, and video surveillance systems that extend to the furthest reaches of the site, both topside and below.
This project served to help bolster O’Connell’s expertise in transmission line construction as well as elevate our regional dominance and industry leadership as a top electrical contractor.
Casella Waste Systems owns and operates a methane gas-to-energy plant at their landfill operations in Angelica, New York—the company’s fourth LFGTE project. Energy East contracted with Casella to tap into this renewable energy power generating source. At full capacity the site is expected to produce 4.8 megawatts per hour of clean energy.
As an industry leader in environmental stewardship, O’Connell Electric actively pursues renewable and alternative energy projects where our expertise can be utilized. For this project we were awarded two contracts totaling $3.2 million. The work involved constructing six miles of overhead 34.5kV sub transmission line and a 34.5kV switchyard substation with point of interconnect (POI) to tie the Casella power generating facility into Energy East’s transmission system.
Anheuser-Busch produces five of the top ten best selling beers in the country, including Bud Light and Budweiser, number one and two, respectively. Modernization of the finishing cellar at their Baldwinsville, New York brewery was part of a $182 million investment the beer-maker committed to US operations for the year. The Baldwinsville brewery began production in 1983 and is one of 12 breweries Anheuser-Busch operates across the country. Situated on 370 acres, their largest US site, the brewery has an annual production capacity of more than eight million barrels.
O’Connell employees have been providing Anheuser Busch with exceptional customer service, dependability, and quality of work at their Baldwinsville brewery for more than sixteen years. That history of trust helped determine O’Connell’s selection as prime contractor for the challenging and complex $2.5 million electrical construction portion of their modernization project, designed to increase efficiency and production at the facility.
The project called for the highest level of skill to meet Anheuser Busch’s exacting and demanding production process requirements. O’Connell’s scope of work involved power and connections for 5,300 new system control valves, 1,700 discrete and analog devices, and 214 pumps. For the brains of the operation we installed several new programmable logic controllers (PLC’s) and network-wired them, along with existing units in the plant’s central control room, to remote Input/Output (I/O) cabinets spread across the one-and-a-half million square foot facility. We were also responsible for removal of existing equipment and subcontracting the concrete work.
Through planned and skillful orchestration, O’Connell was able to minimize production disruptions at the brewery by staggering round-the-clock process shutdowns between brewing, packaging, and shipping. With no margin for error, our crews demonstrated extreme commitment and efficiency in completing all work within the allotted down-times—lasting between two days and two weeks—and even ahead of schedule, while maintaining the high quality standards O’Connell is known for.
O’Connell garnered recognition for their industry leadership and work on this project through foreman, Todd Naramore, who won the Syracuse Builders Exchange Annual Craftsmanship Award for excellence in construction for the electrical building trade category. Other projects completed by O’Connell personnel at the Baldwinsville brewery include their new Variety Pack line that facilitates combining of several brands into a common package, upgrade and modernization of their keg line, and a new high-speed can line.
Established in 1934, the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority (BMHA) is responsible for the construction, rehabilitation, and modernization of low-income public housing within the City of Buffalo as well as all management and operations. Today, nearly 12,000 residents live among BMHA’s 27 developments. To help combat crime the Buffalo Police Department has established a dedicated Housing Unit consisting of 21 police officers to patrol, police, and manage security issues across all complexes. In turn, BMHA has committed to increase security measures which includes substantial investments in state-of-the-art closed-circuit television (CCTV) video surveillance systems at each site that will eventually be tied together at one centralized location.
O’Connell was contracted by the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority to install the first phase of CCTV cameras at five of their developments. Installations involved hardwiring the video cameras with low-voltage power taken directly from that building’s power supply panel. We mounted and positioned the cameras with line-of-site to a centralized antennae we installed on the property that transmits the video signals to a digital video recording system (DVR) for storage and retrieval. One site’s layout was not wireless-friendly and required fiber optics to carry the video. We installed all fiber optic cable, made the terminations, and performed testing on the system.
Angling the cameras and determining focus required precision. O’Connell worked closely with the project’s integrator, who specified the video hardware and engineered the system’s line-of-site positional planning, to achieve exactness. Each of the five installations were designed to function both independently or as part of a larger integrated system where all video can be reviewed and evaluated at a centralized location. O’Connell installed 80 cameras for this first phase of work.
With most work at the job sites having been accomplished at heights of two stories or more, requiring the continual use of extension ladders, small bucket trucks, and even a man-lift to install a 100 foot-high tower antennae, O’Connell exhibited exceptional safety performance with no reported safety incidents throughout the project.
Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation is a utility serving approximately 300,000 electric and about 74,000 natural gas customers in an eight county area of New York State’s Mid-Hudson River Valley, including the suburbs of metropolitan New York City north to the capital district at Albany.
O’Connell Electric successfully completed the project to replace existing Steel and Wood “H” Frame and single pole structures with New Single Steel Structures for Overhead Transmission and related work.
State of New York, Office of General Services put out renovation bids for Building 41, Central New York Psychiatric Center. The building is a 210 bed maximum security facility constructed and operated by the New York State Department of Mental Health.
O’Connell Electric completed a $5 million contract to provide perimeter security systems and fencing for Building 41 as well as its security console and video recording equipment. Our electrical construction work included exterior security and sports field lighting, perimeter fence sensor cabling and microwave security system, fence personnel alarm and public address system, perimeter CCTV system, and gate control system. O’Connell was acting GC for the contract which also included site excavation, grading, new storm and sanitary sewers, a large retention pond, sidewalks, new recreational sports fields, new access roadways, and a double security fence to enclose the complex.
Cohocton Wind is a 125MW wind farm sited across the hilltops of a designated agricultural district in New York State’s Finger Lakes Region. The $150 million project involved installation of 50 Clipper Liberty 2.5MW Wind Turbines, two substations, transmission lines, and access roads. Cohocton Wind is owned and operated by Canandaigua Power Partners, an LLC created by developer First Wind. The site provides enough energy to supply 50,000 homes in the Northeastern US.
Under a $7.5 million contract with MSE Power Systems, O’Connell constructed the project’s two collection substations, overhead collection lines, ten miles of pole supported overhead 115kV transmission line, and the New York State grid point of interconnect 230kV switchyard. Construction began in winter involving site clearing, excavation, and pole setting on the steep, rugged slopes of the Bristol Hills. The combination of our experience and fleet of specialized all-terrain equipment and track vehicles enabled us to meet the challenges of the project and complete work within the construction window, even with numerous scheduling, weather, and site access setbacks.
The overhead transmission line O’Connell constructed connects Cohocton Wind’s two collection substations on opposing sides of New York Interstate 390. Our crossing of the interstate coincided with that of another large area construction project which we successfully managed simultaneously without interruption to either. Throughout the project, O’Connell was able to utilize the regional railroad system for delivery of poles as well as removal of logs from site clearing.
Project management on the ground and back at the office maintained strong working relationships with area government and regulatory officials as well as regular communications with resident land owners to facilitate successful construction activities. Our experience working within agricultural districts and our utilization of local forces helped breakdown barriers that could have further inhibited construction progress.
O’Connell’s Technical Services Division commissioned elements of the system to ensure they met with the interconnecting utility’s standards and specs. We remained engaged in the project past our contractual obligations to provide counsel and help ensure a seamless energization of the system.
Colgate University embarked on a $57.5 million expansion/renovation project. The endeavor combined full renovation of the existing 101,000 square foot Case Library building with a 51,000 square foot addition for its new Geyer Center for Information Technology, taking it from a four story structure to five.
O’Connell’s extensive college and university experience positioned us as a top candidate for the Case Library project. Our competitive bidding sealed the deal. We were awarded a $4.4 million contract by the Gilbane Company for full electrical construction. Scope of work required upgrading the renovated library’s outdated electrical service and new electrical work for the Geyer Center as well as new multi-media production suite, high-tech work stations, meeting spaces, lounges, and cafe.
Over a one and a half year construction schedule, O’Connell installed new primary underground electrical structures, 2,500 amp main electric service, and automatic transfer 300 KW natural gas indoor standby generator systems to the building complex. We also furnished all architectural lighting, lighting control and life safety systems, building access control and management systems, all grounding systems and lightning protection, and site lighting.
Monroe County’s new O’Rorke Bridge was designed to be a landmark structure serving Rochester’s waterfront community on Lake Ontario. The four lane double leaf Scherzer rolling-lift bascule bridge spans 243 feet across the Genesee River, replacing the Stutson Street Bridge which served the area for over 70 years. Highway approach structures from east and west total 678 feet.
Under a $5 million sub-contract from Crane-Hogan Structural Systems, O’Connell Electric provided all electrical construction and data communications work for the new bridge’s power and control systems, highway approach lighting, bridge accent lighting, security systems, and area traffic control signals.
O’Connell’s electrical work for bridge power and control systems was critical for operational reliability. The drive in each of the bridge’s bascule leaves consists of interconnected dual electric motors. Standby power for all bridge systems was supplied by an auto-start diesel generator. The control system allows semi-automatic operation of the drive system via a programmable logic computer.
O’Connell’s fiber optics work included design and installation of two-72 strand submarine cables installed under the river bed, alongside the electric, which linked bridge and highway CCTV systems, several traffic signal controls, a local water and wastewater plant, and controls for future area needs.
The computer controlled accent lighting system O’Connell installed incorporates several service levels spanning “Standard” to “Full Ornamental” for special events.
The Cornell Combined Heat and Power Project (CCHPP) is a significant capital improvement to Cornell's central heating plant. Currently, Cornell University purchases most of the electricity it uses, and generates heat principally through the combustion of coal. The CCHPP project will introduce two generator trains consisting of Combustion Turbines (CTs) with Heat Recovery Steam Generators (HRSGs), principally powered from natural gas, to allow the campus to use a combined heat and power system to generate electricity and heat the campus. The inclusion of these systems will fundamentally change the way the University operates its heat and power utilities.
As part of this overall project, O’Connell Electric is serving as the General Contractor for the expansion and rehabilitation of the existing Cornell University substation. The Cornell University, Maple Avenue Substation Renewal Project is being constructed to accommodate new distributed generation via the Cornell Combined Heat and Power Project and to increase the Substation’s capacity for future load growth. This project is converting the existing substation to a three transformer station with a three-bus 13.2KV Ring Configuration utilizing medium voltage vacuum switchgear. Each transformer will be rated 20/26.6/33.3MVA 115KV/13KV.
Albany New York’s Empire State Plaza is a ninety-eight acre interconnected state governmental complex containing ten distinctive office buildings, including the marble-clad forty-four story Corning Tower, the tallest building in the state outside of New York City. The Plaza was constructed between 1960 and 1976 at a total cost of $1.7 billion. The Plaza is on the New York State Office of General Services’ (NYSOGS) short list for administering a $73.5 million capital program to upgrade and modernize electrical and mechanical systems at select state facilities across New York.
As part of the NYSOGS capital program, O’Connell was awarded a $1.3 million contract to perform upgrades and testing to Empire State Plaza’s main substation. O’Connell has been awarded several contracts under the OGS program.
The primary task for this project involved removal of the substation’s original transformer, installed 45 years earlier, and replacing it with a new 34.5kV unit. The project took on an added element of challenge with the substation vault located several stories underground within the Plaza. O’Connell employed the use of 600-ton crane to move and place each of the transformers.
O’Connell provided temporary power for the project and performed systems testing. The transformer switchout was scheduled over a weekend to help minimize impact on Plaza functionality as well as on busy Capital District traffic and was carried out in one day. Through efficient project management and oversight by O’Connell, the substation upgrades were seamless to the 13,000 state employees who work across the complex, to businesses operating within the Plaza’s Concourse, and to the public. In the face of numerous challenges encountered in a short project window, all work was performed effectively, efficiently, and without a safety incident.
As part of the region’s Western Gateway Initiative the City of Rochester, Monroe County, and New York State embarked on a $38 million bridge replacement project involving the heavily travelled Interstate 490/Rochester Innerloop corridor. The City of Rochester wanted a “signature bridge” to define the area’s redevelopment program for this high profile crossing of the Genesee River. To achieve this, a 433 foot steel cable arch bridge was designed to span the river rising 100 feet above the water. The bridge is one of the widest steel three-rib true arch bridges in the world (130 feet). Decorative lighting arrangements were designed to give the bridge added aesthetic appeal.
In 1972, O’Connell had provided electrical construction services on the former Troup-Howell Bridge for a major lane expansion initiative. Thirty-five years later we were back on location providing electrical construction services for lighting the new bridge. O’Connell aided field engineers in interpreting the electrical plans for the bridge’s innovative accent lighting system and worked closely with the general contractor and New York State DOT to satisfy all electrical objectives. The final results speak for themselves.
The GM Powertrain Engine Plant in Tonawanda, New York is a key facet of General Motors’ manufacturing arsenal. It is one of the largest engine producing facilities in the world with over 3 million feet of floor space dedicated to the manufacture of several key lines for the company. Recently, $425 million was committed to bring manufacture of the Ecotec 2.4 Liter, four-cylinder engines to the plant, currently found in the critically acclaimed Chevrolet Malibu, an endeavor expected to create approximately 470 new jobs in the area. GM has invested $2.3 billion into their Tonawanda facility over the last decade with several additional lines being added in the next few years. Since operations began in 1938 the plant has churned-out nearly 75 million engines.
Under a $1.45 million contract from Hohl Industrial Services, O’Connell Electric was hired to build GM Powertrain’s new Ecotec 2.4 Liter engine and crank assembly lines. This was our eighth major project completed at the Tonawanda plant marking a working relationship that has spanned more than ten years with the auto giant.
O’Connell demonstrated its core values of adaptability, by constructing the two new lines under fully operational industrial manufacturing conditions and dependability, by completing all work without interruption to the surrounding production lines. Our management and technicians worked in tandem with GM plant operations and safety personnel to establish communication and scheduling protocols, utilizing one and two-week ‘look-aheads’ as well as the training and enforcement of stringent onsite safety procedures.
O’Connell powered all new machines and equipment off of the plant’s existing bus ducts with wire drops from a complex electrical duct system for equipment hook-up and testing. Throughout the five-month project, O’Connell systematically energized the giant snake-like conveyor assembly lines and worked closely with assembly line production systems manufacturer, Hirata, to bring hundreds of machines and equipment online and operational. In addition to electrical, O’Connell was responsible for all communications systems related to the assembly lines which required installation of all data cabling, hook-up to machines and machine consoles, and tie-in to the main communications hub.
O’Connell met all timelines for the project and had no recorded safety incidents.
Global Crossing, a leading telecommunications company providing computer networking and IP solutions worldwide, built their new 90,000 square foot facility in Rochester, New York to consolidate regional operations. Construction provided for initial staffing of 500 professionals with additional space for expansion.
On a $375,000 subcontract with LeFrois Construction, O’Connell provided comprehensive design/build and CAD services with installation of all communications and low voltage systems for the new facility.
Included were structured cabling systems for voice, data, audio, video, life safety, and security (requiring 1800 Ethernet connections), fiber optic and copper backbone cabling, cable management and all cable support systems, 267 speaker state-of-the-art sound masking system, CCTV Access Security System, CATV feed for AV Systems, and 20 wireless network access points across the building.
O’Connell worked directly with Global Crossing to establish project budgets, stayed ahead of all construction and completed their project work in four months—all to 100% customer satisfaction.
In conjunction with recent safety improvements, Greater Rochester International Airport completed an FAA runway upgrade project that involved installation of a new medium-intensity approach lighting system at the east end of runway 10/28.
On a 6 month, $900,000 contract with DME Corporation, O’Connell installed GRIA’s new approach lighting system. Our scope of work involved removal of several light towers and the existing control vault building, modifications to light towers, installation of five new light towers, new control vault building, new cabling and controls, new electrical service for the lighting system, and construction of new access roads. One challenging aspect of the project included 350 feet of directional drilling under a heavily travelled section of Interstate 390 and its off-ramps to facilitate power and controls to new light towers outside of airport property. As general contractor on the project, O’Connell provided project management as well as coordination between the FAA, GRIA operations and DME.
Under a $17 million grant from the FAA’s Airport Improvement Program, funding was made available for Greater Rochester International Airport (GRIA) to improve runway safety. The work involved construction of two new vehicle tunnels, addition and relocation of utilities and removal of obstructions on airport grounds to create a safety zone at the east end of runway 10/28.
On a $1.7 million subcontract from Crane-Hogan Structural Systems, O’Connell provided all electrical construction of underground conduit and cabling as well as light fixtures and controls required for the automated environmental lighting systems of the two vehicle tunnels. Fire alarm and security systems were also installed. The project spanned two years and was completed on schedule.
The Military Airport Program (MAP) uses federal funds to convert former military airports to civilian use. MAP is part of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Airport Improvement Program (AIP) and provides a boost to civilian aviation capacity and capability. Griffiss International Airport, formerly Griffiss Air Force Base, is on the MAP project list and features a 12,000 foot long, 200 foot wide runway. Limited commercial activity makes this a niche airport for the general aviation community and a good “reliever” airport for Eastern New York State and New York City. To bring the facility up to FAA standards, this project was funded to upgrade the airport’s Navigation Aid Systems (NAVAIDS) to ensure safe and reliable operation as a civilian facility.
O’Connell was selected as prime contractor for the 6 month $4.2 million NAVAIDS upgrade project to meet FAA civilian aviation standards. Our diverse specializations and broad experience enabled us to satisfy the full Scope of Work requirements. The project demanded extensive site preparation and construction work which involved excavation, paved access roads, concrete foundations for equipment, clearing heavily wooded areas around the runway, and site restoration. O’Connell provided primary electrical service to all systems along with installing, upgrading, and testing the following NAVAIDS:
Category One Instrument Landing System (ILS)
Distance Measuring Equipment (DME)
Precision Approach Path Indicator (PAPI)
Medium Intensity Approach Lighting System with Runway Sequenced Flashers (MALSR)
Runway End Identifier Lights (REILS)
Capture Effect Glide Slope Equipment (GS)
Construction challenges included management of high ground water at the site as well as swampy areas around the facility that required proper wetlands mitigation measures. Additionally, work crews had to cope with an unusually long rainy period. The schedule was tight and required close coordination with the FAA, airport management, and tenants to maintain continuous airport operational capability. The project was a success from all technical, construction, and management aspects and all work was completed on schedule.
The Guaranty Building, in Buffalo, New York, is recognized worldwide for its groundbreaking engineering, architectural design, and celebrity. It is heralded as one of the first modern skyscrapers, being constructed with an entirely steel frame. Designed by renowned American architect, Louis Sullivan, mentor to Frank Loyd Wright, the Guaranty Building embodies modernism with influences of Art Nouveau and the English Arts & Crafts movement. The twelve-floor structure exemplifies Sullivan’s creed that “form follows function” and is elaborately decorated with ornamental features inside and out; one of his trademarks. The Guaranty Building opened its doors in 1895.
Hodgson Russ Attorneys have been instrumental in preservation initiatives surrounding this National Historic Landmark for more than three decades. When the opportunity arose, the firm purchased the building as a means for consolidating their headquarter operations into one location. Recently, Hodgson Russ implemented an extensive renovation and restoration of the structure to both modernize the facility and ensure that the Guaranty Building remains a testament to past ingenuities and one of the nation’s great architectural treasures.
O’Connell is often contacted for historical renovation projects, where craftsmanship and attention to detail are paramount. We have broad experience working on high-profile, historical landmarks and renovation and restoration projects. As one of America’s most important architectural landmarks, the Guaranty Building ranks among our most prestigious.
O’Connell was hired early-on to consult with the project’s architect and engineer in helping create budgets and determine the renovation specifications contractors would bid against. We fine-tuned budget numbers against a progressive series of drawings until they were at 100%. Exclusive from the bid package, O’Connell was entrusted with renovating the front exterior of the Guaranty Building as well as the front interior atrium, two showcase areas that Hodgson Russ did not want to leave to chance with an unfamiliar contractor. After the bids were in, O’Connell came away with a contract for $2.4 million.
The scope of electrical construction involved demolition and gutting of all existing electrical infrastructure before constructing new power distribution and emergency backup systems, lighting, safety, and security systems, communications, audio visual, and a data control center. On one Saturday we orchestrated the shut down of Pearl Street, a main city thoroughfare, to enable access for a crane to lift a 350KW generator onto the roof.
The historical renovations for this project are the real story. After more than 100 years, much of the Guaranty Building’s original interior and exterior ornamentals had been preserved. Protection of these assets during demolition and construction was vital. Great care was taken to prevent damage to the exotic woods, hand-cut tile, granite, stamped terra cotta, brass decore, facades, and fixtures which were restored to stay true to the building’s original design and styling.
Approximately 3000 square feet of decorative stained glass adorns three ceilings of the building’s main lobby and adjoining atrium. O’Connell installed an advanced technology LED backlighting system that allows for patterned and section illumination as well as dimming control. O’Connell workers systematically removed each original 6’ x 6’ section with painstaking care, immediately protecting and storing them until they were reinstalled.
O’Connell removed the large original brass gas lanterns mounted on the building’s exterior and converted them for electric usage. Inside, we also converted the gas lamp fixtures that hang from the lobby ceiling into electric. O’Connell installed lighting in the elevator shaft of the first few floors that incorporate an open-design where the elevators and background can be seen through a combination of glass and brass.
Tenant move-in was sequenced with the renovation schedule, starting with the top floors, in addition to the newly renovated basement that was converted into a high-end kitchen and dining center. O’Connell facilitated each Hodgson Russ relocation into the building through round-the-clock Friday evening to Monday morning schedules so employees would have seamless transitions with no down-time. Special practices were employed to help ensure the safety of both tenants and workers in a construction environment that was partially occupied.
Howard Wind is a 51.25MW wind farm distributed across 5000 acres of farm land in Stueben County, New York. Power generated from the site’s 25 REPower 2.05 MW MM92 Turbines are being sold to NYSEG. The $100 million project was seven years in planning and development and is owned and operated by Everpower, a developer of large-scale utility grade wind projects. Standing 375 feet high, the REPower turbines will provide power equivalent for running 16,000 homes annually.
Tetra Tech Construction contracted to have O’Connell Electric accomplish $5 million in specialized electrical construction services. Five O’Connell divisions contributed to satisfying the full scope of electrical work required on the Howard project which represented our 18th commercial wind farm to date.
The ability of O’Connell’s Technical Services Division to satisfy the reconfiguration requirements for the project’s control house may have been the linchpin that won us the bid. Our technicians were called on to gut an existing control house that had been configured for another wind farm before a completely rewiring the structure, installing new relay panels, and making hundreds of technical modifications and upgrades. This expanded scope of work ultimately provided significant cost savings for the developer. Technical Services also performed the high voltage splicing required on the project, partial discharge testing of the underground collection system, and commissioned both the Point of Interconnect and Collection substations which included verification of the current transformers and gas-filling of the breakers.
O’Connell presided over all tower wiring, installed the conduit and cable from the down tower assembly of the turbines to the pad mounted transformers, and executed all applicable high voltage terminations. At the substation we were responsible for the foundations, setting steel, grounding, and tie-in to the NYSEG switchyard around prescheduled power shutdowns. We utilized Local 1249 for installation of the wind farm’s underground collection system and a small section of overhead needed to cross Stephens Gulch.
Our Communications Division installed the complete fiber optic network for the facility in parallel with the high voltage collection system via innerduct, tower-to-tower and to the substation. At the substation our technicians tied into the wind farm’s router and T1 line for connection to the grid.
Through the combined expertise and skill sets of each division that participated on the project O’Connell was able to complete all work on schedule despite numerous technological challenges and an aggressive time table. In spite of the substantial man hour investment we had on this project we experienced no safety related injuries.
IBM was looking to upgrade the power backup systems for their 100,000 square foot customer data center facility in Greece, New York. A key aspect of the upgrade would be the installation and commissioning of a new emergency power distribution system to assure the facility would remain operational in the event of a power failure.
O’Connell Electric subcontracted from Skanska USA to provide the primary components of the emergency power distribution system as well as all systems testing and commissioning services. The $750K project took six months to complete. The electrical construction work included installation of three 5KV / 2500KW standby generators, 5KV paralleling switchgear, two 34.5KV / 7.5MVA transformers, interior double ended 34.5 KV transfer switches, and the control wiring connecting paralleling switchgear to transfer switches. O’Connell retrofitted the facility’s existing electrical mains to allow for switching from normal to emergency power, and back again, without interruption.
O’Connell’s Technical Services group provided systems component testing that included relays, switchgear, transformers, and breakers and carried out all systems testing and commissioning.
New York State's Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) completed an $8.5 million project to install an Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) along a four mile section of Interstate 390 near Rochester, New York. I-390 is a busy arterial route serving the area. ITS is a national program aimed at using advanced information technologies to improve transportation efficiency and safety. NYSDOT will use the system to monitor traffic conditions and issue timely information to motorists regarding accidents, congestion, and work zones.
On a $1.1 million subcontract from Crane-Hogan Structural Systems, O’Connell Electric installed and integrated Closed Circuit TV’s, Dynamic Messaging Signs, and Remote Vehicle Monitoring System Terminals for the project. The monitoring terminals are the first microwave vehicle detectors installed in Upstate New York. O'Connell performed design work to incorporate the microwave detector units into the overall system.
Ortho Clinical Diagnostics, a Johnson & Johnson Company, is a leading solutions provider for transfusion medicine and clinical laboratories worldwide specializing in the screening of human blood and various chemical testing. Rochester, New York is home to research headquarters for the company as well as one of Ortho’s three manufacturing operations. The company was established in 1944 and currently employs more than 2,500 worldwide. Headquartered in Raritan, New Jersey, Ortho maintains multiple facilities across Europe and Asia as well as in Canada and Australia.
O’Connell’s working relationship with Ortho Clinical Diagnostics dates back to the 1990s. The strength of our partnership stems from daily application of several O’Connell Core Values—Exceptional Customer Service, Ethics and Integrity, and Quality and Dependability.
Ortho employs full-time O’Connell electricians at each of their Rochester, New York facilities who provide day-to-day service and maintenance ranging from upkeep of electrical systems, fixtures, and equipment to upgrades and renovations, and who are on-call nights and weekends in case of emergencies.
Our project work for Ortho varies in size and scope often involving highly specialized applications. Over the last decade, we have literally been awarded hundreds of projects between Ortho’s two Rochester facilities ranging from several thousand to several hundred-thousand dollars.
A recent project involved relocation and hook-up of a highly specialized roll-coating machine from where it was designed, built, and tested in Neenah Wisconsin, to Rochester’s chemical diagnostics manufacturing facility. ‘72 Machine’ was custom-made for Ortho and can apply several layers of chemicals, in different ‘recipes’, on a film substrate allowing for a range of blood tests to be performed from a single strip. We flew our project foreman out to document dismantling of the machine to aid our technician’s back in New York with the reassembly. The range and diversity of O’Connell’s specialized services often gives us the competitive-edge when bidding private contracts. For this project we were able to leverage the expertise of two lead technicians from our Bridges Division who have broad experience and understanding of control wiring and schematics. Reassembly of 72 Machine called for on-the-job improvising and realignments to facilitate its permanent installation. O’Connell met all scheduling requirements set forth for our part of the project.
Through persistent, observable dedication and commitment to our customers, O’Connell Electric’s business relationships, like the one we have with Ortho Clinical Diagnostics, continue to prosper and expand.
JP Morgan Chase embarked on a $20 million renovation of their Chase Tower office facility in downtown Rochester, New York. The purpose of the renovation was to consolidate 850 Chase employees in the 27 story, 427,000 square foot high rise. The upgrade would include refurbishment of office spaces, new electrical throughout, and state-of-the-art data and voice technology.
O’Connell has been providing electrical and communications services to the Chase Tower for over 30 years. We were a natural fit for this renovation project. O’Connell subcontracted with The Pike Company to provide full electrical construction and communications systems for the building. Our contracts totaled $6.9 million and the work was completed in 18 months.
The electrical construction portion of the project was comprehensive, involving renovation and updates to 13 floors of the building’s electrical, and UPS systems.
Our communications work encompassed 16 of the building’s 27 floors. Work included build-out of over 3500 Category 6 Systimax voice and data connections, a 24-Strand Fiber Optic and 50-pair Category 3 copper communications backbone, 16 telecommunications rooms, design and construction of the tower’s new data center, and a building-wide card access system. O’Connell also installed the tower’s new fire protection system.
To meet growing demands, NYSEG needed to reinforce the electrical system capacity for Westchester County by installing a new sub transmission line that would connect the grid to a regional distribution substation.
O’Connell was prime contractor for NYSEG’s $2 million project to install a 46kV transmission line near Katonah and Cross River, New York.
The project consisted of constructing six miles of pre-assembled aerial cable transmission line, one and a half miles of overhead construction to 115kV standards, and a quarter mile open crossing over the heavily traveled I-684 corridor. Completing the highway crossing with only a 14 minute traffic stoppage was a notable achievement—especially on Mother’s Day morning. The project was completed in four months.
AES Laurel Mountain is a 97.6 MW wind farm that stretches across 12.5 miles of the western ridge of the Allegheny Mountains in north central West Virginia. The $250 million project supplies power to the market via PJM Interconnection which services thirteen states across the northeastern U.S. The site’s 61 GE 1.6 wind turbines generate an electrical capacity capable of providing energy for approximately 14,000 homes. Featured at the heart of the wind farm is a 32 MW integrated battery based energy storage system. As the world’s largest lithium-ion battery farm, Laurel Mountain is capable of storing and sending energy in short bursts and adding to the regional grid’s overall stability.
After successfully partnering on several wind farm projects in New York State, TVIG (Tennessee Valley Infrastructure Group) hired O’Connell Electric for $2.67 million to provide electrical construction and testing services for the Laurel Mountain project.
O’Connell mobilized an out-of-state workforce to satisfy a scope of work that encompassed conduit installation, high voltage terminations, and grounding. We were responsible for the conduit from each of the 61 turbine foundations to their specific pad mounted transformers, for grounding every tower, and for making high voltage terminations at the towers, transformers, termination boxes, substation, and operations and maintenance building.
O’Connell’s Technical Services Division installed all 34.5KV splices and terminations for the project. The division also performed Ground Grid Testing at each tower, testing and commissioning of each Wind Turbine Generator (WTG) Transformer, and deenergized very low frequency (VLF) testing of the complete underground collection system.
Our Communications Division executed all fiber optic terminations for SCADA communications at the site and also performed tower to tower fiber optics testing.
A single access road services Laurel Mountain Wind Farm across remote and uneven terrain. The project afforded one laydown area for temporary storage of equipment and supplies that was located six miles from the substation and six miles from the end of the line. Inclement weather forced delays for much of our work which resulted in our completing the project under heavy snow conditions. Our crews adapted to the shifting circumstances and executed all obligations within schedule and without a safety incident or injury.
Albany’s New York State Legislative Hearing Rooms recently underwent $5.2 million in renovations and upgrades. Located at the north end of the Empire State Plaza in the Legislative Office Building, the three hearing rooms are in use nearly year-round by both the Senate and Assembly as well as other state agencies.
In an attempt by state government to become more visible and transparent to the average citizen, a key aspect of the renovations involved incorporating numerous technological upgrades and advancements. The new audiovisual systems allow for digital projection of material on large format monitors for the audience and legislators as well as for enhanced television and radio transmission.
Several aspects of the renovation project were driven by Federal and State mandates. The the Legislative Office Building was constructed in the early 1970s with the Hearing Rooms receiving their last major upgrade more than three decades ago. Seating capacity between the three hearing rooms totals nine hundred.
Under contracts totaling $2.5 million with New York State’s Office of General Services, O’Connell contributed both electrical construction and communications services to the renovation project. O’Connell upgraded existing electrical which involved new panels and an expanded power distribution system that included installation of conduit, wire, and receptacles as well as device terminations and a building card-access system that we integrated in conjunction with Honeywell. We installed all new general lighting as well as the specialty theatrical lighting systems necessary for televising in HD from the hearing rooms. Our Communications Division installed the new fiber optic backbone, with terminations and testing, including the raceways that support each of the three hearing rooms’ state-of-the-art, production-quality audiovisual systems and control rooms.
Throughout the duration of this two-year project, O’Connell maintained a clean safety record with no recordable injuries.
Bliss Wind Farm, a 100.5 megawatt wind power generation site, was the first of several wind farms recently developed in the Greater Niagra Region of Upstate New York. The site features 67 GE 1.5 megawatt turbines and represents a $200 million investment in clean, renewable energy funded by G.E. Energy Services and operated by Noble Environmental Power.
O’Connell’s contribution spanned three diverse aspects of the Noble Bliss project—testing, power line construction, and data communications.
Prior to breaking ground, Nobel contracted with our Technical Services Division to provide acceptance testing for the project’s underground cable while it was still on spools at their warehouse. After construction, we performed all acceptance testing for the site’s overhead collection and tower grounding systems and on each of the 67 turbine tower transformers. We also provided site energization and start-up support.
O’Connell’s Power Line Division sealed a deal with Noble for $3.6 million to do their part. Line work involved running 115kV overhead transmission line between the site’s 34.5/115kV substation and grid interconnection substation, 14 miles away, and 25 miles of overhead collection system, single, double, and triple 34.5kV circuit Hendrix Cable construction. All line work was completed within 10 months.
Our Communications Division was awarded the fiber optics portion of the project. Fiber cable carries crucial operation and performance data from instrumentation on each turbine to a single collection point at the site. From there it is transmitted to a commercial processing center where it is monitored and analyzed. O’Connell reel tested and installed 90,000 feet of fiber optic cable, performing 1600 terminations, 110 aerial and pedestal splice points, and all final post-termination fiber testing
The Ogdensburg-Prescott International Bridge is a 1-1/2-mile cable suspension bridge spanning the Saint Lawrence Seaway that links the north-central border of New York State with Canada. The bridge is a vital international conduit for the transportation of persons and goods and connects much needed economic development projects for the region on either side of the border. Built in 1960, the Ogdensburg Bridge had recently been categorized as a structurally deficient surface transportation asset. Pursuant to New York State’s adopted Transportation Master Plan for 2030 the bridge was targeted for rehabilitation in order to “achieve a state of good repair” and to ensure the bridge’s longterm viability. The Ogdensburg Bridge & Port Authority partnered with the New York State Department of Transportation to implement the $48 million rehabilitation project. Work included replacement of all main span bridge decking, structural steel floor beams and stringers, raised concrete safety walks, and bridge railing systems across both approach spans and the main suspension spans.
O’Connell is no stranger to large-scale international bridge rehabilitation projects. Our portfolio includes the Thousand Islands Bridge and The Peace Bridge, which is the second busiest boarder crossing between the U.S. and Canada. Under a $3 million contract from the American Bridge Company, O’Connell was tasked with replacement and upgrade of all bridge electrical and communications infrastructure. The new two-conduit raceway system we installed spans the full 7385 foot length of the bridge, one conduit carrying wire and cable for bridge functionality, the other for future international communications. O’Connell installed newly engineered dehumidification systems into sealed vaults, where the bridge stay cables are anchored, as part of the bridge’s comprehensive corrosion protection system. We also installed all new street, bridge, and navigational lighting for the project.
The majority of electrical work and installations needed to be accomplished underneath the bridge’s surface. Demonstrating versatility and adaptability in a challenging construction environment, O’Connell researched, rented, purchased, and modified specialized equipment that enabled our technicians, and other trades, to access work areas from the topside of the bridge. With workmen suspended 100 feet, or more, over water and land during the construction period, job site safety and worker fall protection were an utmost priority. O’Connell demonstrated exceptional safety performance throughout the eighteen-month duration of the project with no reported safety incidents or injuries.
On a project of this magnitude, numerous obstacles and challenges present themselves that could not have been anticipated when bidding the work. O’Connell exhibited both the character and industry leadership qualities we are known for by managing each issue that arose and meeting all project completion schedules.
In keeping with their mission and commitment to provide the best available healthcare services to all individuals in their community and region, Lourdes Hospital recently launched a three-year, $70 million expansion and update project designed to bring in new and advanced technologies, state-of-the-art department upgrades, as well as improve their outpatient service package.
Lourdes Hospital had its start as a twenty-five bed facility in a Binghamton, New York mansion purchased by area residents in 1925. Administered by Daughters of Charity (now Ascension Health), the hospital has been known for its groundbreaking service offerings over the past eight-and-a-half decades, being first to provide a recovery room, intensive care unit, and hospice to New York State’s Southern Tier region as well as cancer center and electrodiagnostic laboratory.
O’Connell has maintained a long-standing working relationship with Lourde’s as well as dozens of other hospitals across New York State. Working directly for the hospital, we were awarded a competitive bid contract for $1.9 million to perform all electrical construction. The project involved expansion and modernization of Lourdes’ emergency and radiology departments as well as new Open MRI and two new surgical suites. A new ambulatory care building was also constructed to contain the gastroenterology suite, rehabilitation department, outpatient blood lab, pre-admission testing area, and hospital registration with a new two-story main entrance connecting it to the existing structure.
Our scope of work for the project was comprehensive. O’Connell constructed and installed all primary, secondary, and standby power distribution systems, the hospital’s specialized ‘medical systems’, interior and exterior lighting, and fire, life safety, and communications systems. Construction of the hospital’s dedicated power house included the installation of two Milton Cat 750kW packaged standby engine generator sets in conjunction with Russelectric paralleling switchgear and transfer switches for maintaining power across the hospital’s critical, life safety, emergency, and mechanical systems as well as Open MRI. Additionally, our Technical Services Division performed start-up testing and commissioning for the new electrical service, distribution systems, and equipment.
Through careful planning, O’Connell executed periodic power shutdowns throughout various stages of the project, completing all work with no disruption to ongoing hospital operations. The hospital’s Open MRI and surgical suites required special coordination efforts involving the customer, manufacturers, consultants, contractors, and staff to ensure proper systems configuration, operation, and turnover. O’Connell was found to be in good standing during numerous unscheduled inspections conducted by New York State’s Department of Health and Human Services.
O’Connell’s Core Values in Action: For the Lourdes expansion project O’Connell employed a full-time, on-site superintendent who oversaw the day-to-day job site operations and was the face of our company to hospital representatives, the GC, and all other involved parties. The superintendent played an active role at both the weekly construction meetings and two-week look-ahead planning sessions in addition to maintaining O’Connell’s formal onsite Quality Assurance program. Through the employment of advanced training practices, OSHA certifications, onsite Lunch Box Safety Talks, daily safety inspections, and two-week look-ahead participation, O’Connell was able to maintain an impeccable safety and performance record throughout the project.
“Run a Red Light? Expect a Photo Finish.” That was the title of a campaign launched by the City of Rochester in advance of installing red light enforcement cameras across 50 intersections. The initiative was implemented to help decrease the number of red light running accidents as well as generate additional revenue for the City. The program required State Senate legislative approval along with the Governor’s signature to be adopted. Rochester was the first municipality in Upstate New York to implement such a program. The City partnered with Redflex Traffic Systems, Inc., an industry leader with 20 years experience building, operating, and managing digital red light and speed enforcement systems. Redflex holds contracts with over 250 cities across the U.S. as well as numerous statewide programs.
O’Connell was hired to implement the red light enforcement system throughout the City of Rochester, contracting directly with Redflex for the work at each of the 50 intersections. Our in-depth familiarity with the city municipality and understanding of New York State DOT protocols helped us secure the project, along with our competitive price. Contributing factors also included our extensive roadway, traffic signal, and street lighting experience, knowledge of Intelligent Transportation Systems, and our Closed-circuit Television, audiovisual, and data expertise. Each installation involved mounting of the Redflex detection devices to existing structures or installing proprietary pole systems to carry them. Positioning of the equipment needed to be exact to ensure optimum functionality of each install. In addition to the cameras and strobes, pavement cuts were made for installing in-pavement vehicle sensors at each intersection as well as excavation and trenching to bring in power, lay conduit, and pour foundations for the dedicated support structures.
Initial data confirms that traffic related accidents across all intersections are down.
Rochester Institute of Technology’s College of Applied Science and Technology Building is the campus’s first green certified structure. At $10.6 million the contemporary 43,000 square foot facility was designed to meet LEED standards (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). CAST was awarded Gold Certification by the U.S. Green Building Council.
O’Connell subcontracted from Wellivere McGuire, Inc. to provide $1.7 million of electrical construction and communications work for the state-of-the-art CAST building. Included were 15 kV service, primary and secondary power, a structured cabling system with fiber optic backbone for all building communications (voice, data, and video), TEGG certified reliability testing of all systems, and roof mounted photo voltaic solar modules for educational purposes. All work was successfully performed under a tight schedule to meet faculty and student occupancy requirements.
Designed to be 66 percent more efficient than a typical building, The Golisano Institute for Sustainability (GIS) is a multidisciplinary academic facility situated on the Rochester Institute of Technology campus. The mission of GIS is to undertake world class education and research missions in sustainability.
Inside of GIS, academic and research programs focus on sustainable production, sustainable energy, sustainable mobility, and ecologically friendly information technology systems.
Cutting edge technology has been incorporated into every inch of the 84,000 square foot building. Solar panels span the roof from end to end and three wind turbines tower above the entrance. The facility was designed to exceed LEED Platinum, the highest standard that can be achieved. The building’s primary energy source is a fuel cell that produces 400 kilowatts of continuous electric power. Heat generated from the fuel cell is also used to heat this and other buildings on campus.
The micro grid system takes energy from multiple sources, including the wind turbines and solar panels, and stores it in a battery bank to provide 50 kilowatt hours of power for some of the building’s lights and electrical outlets.
This large project included the collaboration of four divisions at O’Connell Electric: Construction, Communications, TEGG, and the Solar Division. Overall, O’Connell was responsible for nearly the entire electrical package throughout the building’s construction. We installed the high voltage service to the building, a fire alarm system, the data system, the fuel cell described above, a fuel cell lab for research and testing, an engine diagnostics lab for research and testing, a unique lighting system incorporating new technology, occupancy sensors, a micro power grid, and we installed the wiring throughout the heat treated windows.
One of the first systems in the Rochester, NY area, the micro grid consists of 180 solar modules totaling 43.2 kilowatts, three wind turbines, a state-of-the-art room to house the battery system, a fuel cell, and transfer switches to control everything. The lighting system utilizes daylight controls that measure the amount of daylight in a room and dims the lights accordingly. Occupancy sensors coordinate with the HVAC system, lighting system, and specific power outlets, which work to control the environment of individual rooms as people enter and leave. The electrical wiring throughout the heated windows prevents the transfer of hot and cold air during the winter months.
Energy East (formerly Rochester Gas & Electric) provides electricity to over 350,000 customers in a region centered around the City of Rochester in Upstate New York. With industry deregulation, Energy East shifted its focus from power generation to power distribution. In decommissioning a major generating station in Rochester, the company needed to update and improve transmission/distribution facilities as it brought outside power into the area.
To meet the needs of Energy East’s massive $115 million transmission/distribution project, O’Connell formed a joint venture partnership, Rochester Power Delivery, with two other companies. O’Connell provided new and updated transmission lines for the project which included installation of 40 circuit miles overhead, 50 circuit miles underground for 34.5kV and 115kV capacity. O’Connell reinforced the transmission loop surrounding the City of Rochester as well as the region’s connections to the cross-state transmission tie-line.
When Energy East (formerly Rochester Gas & Electric) shifted its focus in Upstate New York from power generation to power distribution it had to shut down a major power generating station in Rochester. To replace the station’s electrical generating capacity, the company needed new and updated transmission/distribution facilities to serve the area. A major piece of the project was to test and commission new and upgraded substations without interrupting power to customers.
O’Connell was awarded a $2 million subcontract to perform testing and commissioning services at eleven active substations. The facilities included a new 115kV switchyard and 115kV to 34.5kV substation as well as nine substations that were upgraded from 115kV to 345kV capacity. To maintain power across the region throughout the commissioning process, O’Connell utilized Doble 3-phase power simulator, satellite, and GPS technology to synchronize and simultaneously test substations in different locations. The project was successfully completed over a period of 20 months without a power outage to the service area. O’Connell also performed acceptance testing across 53 circuit miles of underground 34.5kV cable for the project.
Located in Salamanca, New York, Seneca Allegany features an 11-story luxury hotel with three restaurants, an indoor pool, spa, and salon in addition to their 68,000 square foot casino floor space with 2,235 slot machines and 40 gaming tables. The Seneca Nation plans to continue developing the Allegany complex into a premier resort destination in the region featuring world-class gaming and hotel operations.
Upon entering into the Nation-State Gaming Compact with the State of New York the Seneca’s quickly purchased land in Salamanca and constructed a temporary 48,000 square-foot casino. Upon its opening the Seneca’s moved immediately into phase 2 of the project which involved construction of a permanent gaming facility with 212 room hotel and 8-level parking garage.
In preparation for the Allegany expansion project O’Connell was contracted to bring two new 500 MCM circuits into the facility from a utility substation a mile away. O’Connell also performed various electrical construction services for the new casino and hotel under separate contracts.
O’Connell’s cable-pulling equipment and related experience helped us secure the work which entailed 4500-foot cable runs pulled through a low lying marshy area before crossing under the Southern Tier Expressway/Interstate Route 86. Manholes and conduit were already in place, but accessing them with large equipment was where the real challenge came in. O’Connell was able to pull the cable from end-to-end while performing only a single splice in each circuit where most other contractors would have had to venture further into saturated soil to pull shorter lengths of cable and perform multiple splices. In the one manhole we did have to enter water removal proved to be a major challenge requiring our crew to run two three-inch pumps continually to maintain safe working conditions.
O’Connell orchestrated several shutdowns between the utility and casino in order to tie-in the new circuits. The shutdowns were implemented once casino activity subsided, usually after midnight, allowing for our technicians to make the necessary connections at the substation and tie into switchgear at the new casino bus. The existing circuits needed to be brought back on line early each morning as demand at the temporary casino began to build.
The Seneca Allegany Casino & Hotel pre-build high voltage circuits project is another example where O’Connell demonstrated industry leadership through the application of our extensive resources and diverse capabilities to successfully and cost effectively perform on a challenging project.
The Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel features a 26-story luxury hotel (the largest in New York State outside of Manhattan), nine restaurants, buffets, and cafes, 4200 modern slot machines, over 100 gaming tables, more than 30,000 square feet of state-of-the-art meeting and conference space, and a high-capacity events center. The resort has quickly become an Eastern Great Lakes, Western New York destination icon.
Seneca Niagara had its genesis as the former Niagara Falls Convention and Civic Center. Immediately upon entering into a 14-year gaming compact with the State of New York, the Seneca Nation of Indians embarked on $80 million in modifications to the existing structure to bring the new casino up and online. Soon after, plans were announced to expand the casino and build a 605-room luxury hotel on the site. In preparation for the expansion a new powerhouse was built on property adjacent to the casino also owned by the Seneca’s.
Under a $1.2 million contract from The Seneca Management Company, O’Connell Electric performed electrical construction and commissioning services for the new powerhouse. We installed the fire safety systems for the new hotel and casino under a separate contract.
O’Connell trenched and laid nearly 700 feet of cable between the powerhouse bus system and the existing utility circuits after casting a manhole around the conduit. Circuit shutdowns were orchestrated after midnight, when casino activity subsided, allowing for our technicians to perform the powerhouse tie-ins. We switched full casino operations over to one of two feeders that came into the property so that work could be performed on the other. Both circuits had to be back on line by 5:00 am each morning to handle the demand load as it began ramping back up. This process required several evenings to complete all aspects of work.
Back at the powerhouse O’Connell technicians made all necessary connections for the switch gear, automatic monitoring system, conduit, and power for three tractor trailor-sized 2MW generators that would be utilized for emergency backup and supplemental power. The generators are capable of running full casino and hotel operations off-grid when necessary. Per agreements with National Grid the generators were programmed to come online during peak casino operation to minimize impact on the grid. Upon conclusion of the construction process our Technical Services Division commissioned the interfacing switchgear with the utility.
O’Connell completed all work ahead of schedule, even with an accelerated project time line of six months from start to finish.
Steel Winds was among the first successfully implemented urban commercial wind farms in the U.S. That combined with the fact that the plant was part of New York State’s DEC Brownfield Cleanup Program, Buffalo’s wind power facility truly stands out as one of a kind.
State and federal governments continue to pass initiatives that offer developers incentives for building large-scale renewable energy projects on previously disturbed land. Dubbed Steel Winds II, power generation capacity at the current facility was increased to 35 MW with the introduction of six additional Clipper Liberty Wind Turbines. Libertys are impressive structures that feature 325-foot towers with 110-foot blades that are capable of generating 2.5 MW of electricity.
O’Connell Electric provided comprehensive end-to-end electrical construction, testing, and commissioning services for the initial Steel Winds development project. Under a contract for $3.25 million, we were again contracted by TVIG (Tennessee Valley Infrastructure Group) to provide the complete electrical package for this expansion project and to increase distribution system reliability at the substation.
This time around our Technical Services Division played an expanded role. The division overhauled the onsite substation which included upgrading to solid state relays and electronic metering. We reconfigured the substation with a Schweitzer microprocessor-based protection system, installed new SCADA system with HMI (human-machine interface) for monitoring and controlling the substation automation package, and performed all acceptance and witness testing. Full reconditioning of the 115KV step-up transformers was performed which involved the installation of new circulation pumps and auxiliary controls, a new cooling package to enable increased capacity and base rating, an oil containment system, internal inspections of the transformers, and oil degasification. O’Connell also performed partial discharge testing of the underground collection system.
O’Connell crews constructed three miles of overhead transmission lines for the project as well as the underground to overhead collection system. We performed the tower wiring and installed the data communications network for the new turbines. Our safety record was impeccable throughout the project’s fast-paced time line.
South of Buffalo, New York, on an abandoned Bethlehem Steel plant site, eight 2.5MW Clipper wind turbines are producing power for the New York State Independent System Operator grid. Called “Steel Winds”, it was a $40 million clean energy project developed and owned jointly by BQ Energy and UPC Wind. The wind turbines (the largest manufactured in the U.S.) can produce 57,000 MW-Hours of electricity a year with the power sold both to individual companies and utilities. Steel Winds is said to be the largest U.S. wind farm developed in an urban setting and the first sited on the shores of Lake Erie.
What started as a small condition assessment job on a retired substation by O’Connell’s Technical Services Group led to our getting the complete electrical construction package at Steel Winds, subcontracted from the Tennessee Valley Infrastructure Group. We repaired and modified the existing substation to accept power generated by the wind turbines, installed the underground collection systems and overhead transmission lines, tower wiring and grounding, and ran fiber optics for all data communications. We wrapped up the project where it all began—at the substation—by providing final systems acceptance testing and commissioning. Today, we provide preventative maintenance services to the new site owners.
Since beginning passenger transportation services in 1989, Stewart International Airport has received federal and state funding for numerous upgrades and improvements including funding under the FAA’s Military Airport Program (MAP) that supports capital improvements to help convert former military airports for civilian use. Stewart’s latest airport improvement project, the rehabilitation of their Weather Instrument Power Circuit (WIP), also received FAA funding.
Stewart International Airport is situated on 2,400 acres, just 60 miles north of New York City. The airport operates two runways, one measuring 11,817 feet in length, the other 6,004 feet.
Stewart began as a West Point cadet training airfield in 1939 before becoming Stewart Air Force Base in 1948. Deactivated from military service in 1970, it wasn’t until 1989 that commercial airlines were beginning to provide regular passenger service to and from Stewart. In 2007, The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey purchased the facility committing to a ten-year, $500 million capital improvement expansion program. In addition to Stewart International, The Port Authority also manages operations at John F. Kennedy International, LaGuardia, and Newark Liberty International Airports.
Under a $2 million subcontract from the FAA, O’Connell Electric was hired to install a high voltage Weather Instrument Power Circuit (WIP), along with communications cabling, that encircled both airport runways and fed eleven FAA NAVAIDs sites.
Our high voltage work involved Nitrogen purging of existing cable which had been installed incorrectly by another contractor. Once moisture had been removed from each section of cable, O’Connell’s Technical Services Division conducted TEGG testing to determine whether the cable was compromised. All told, we replaced 15,000 feet of defective high voltage cable and performed all terminations. We installed the step down transformers and high voltage switches for the project which included excavation and related concrete work for the foundations. Our electricians also pulled 32,000 feet of communications cable while providing all necessary splicing and terminations.
In the process of purging, testing, and pulling the HV and communications cable, O’Connell technicians utilized manhole retrieval systems, fresh air ventilators, and clean air sensors to access 198 eight-foot-deep manholes. As a Top 50 national electrical contractor, O’Connell possessed the skills, tools, and equipment necessary to successfully deliver on every aspect of the Stewart International Airport WIP circuit rehabilitation project. Despite numerous obstacles, O’Connell met all project requirements and maintained a clean safety record.
Syracuse City Schools initiated a major consolidation program aimed at increasing efficiency and reducing costs across the district’s 45 schools. A key component of this effort included a $6 million contract to consolidate all school communications systems.
Under a $2.5 million contract, O’Connell installed and tested the voice and data telecommunications systems at 38 out of 45 Syracuse City schools, providing all project management, labor and materials. A pivotal piece of the project relied on O’Connell’s ability to staff and tool for the extensive structured cabling and raceway requirements, complete with wire mold and cable tray systems. Our fiber optic fusion splicing capabilities afforded another component of the project’s success. All told, the Syracuse City Schools project showcased O’Connell’s proficiency in tooling, equipping and resourcing a multiple site communications project on schedule and within budget.
The 6 story, 235,000 square foot Syracuse University Life Sciences Building was the largest project undertaken in the university’s history at a cost of $110 million. The massive structure was integrated with the existing Center for Science and Technology Building via a four story glass atrium that joined them.
O’Connell subcontracted from Barr & Barr Contractors, completing $9 million of major electrical construction work. Electrifying the building included installation of all switchgear, conduit and wire, interior and site lighting, lecture room dimmer systems, and building lighting control system with integration to the campus-wide building management system. We provided power distribution throughout the building via two unit substations with 4.8KV primary 480V/277V secondary with main-tie-main busways. Two natural gas generators were installed on the top floor with control switchgear and automatic transfer switches for emergency power backup. O’Connell installed the lightning protection and grounding systems which required grounding wells in excess of 300 feet. We outfitted the complex with complete fire protection systems, voice and data raceways, and security conduit systems.
O’Connell was also awarded a $2.7 million contract to upgrade the university’s north campus high voltage substation upgrade portion of the project.
To meet power requirements for the new 235,000 square foot Life Sciences Building, as well as other projects in planning, the electrical distribution system for Syracuse University’s entire north campus needed to be upgraded.
O’Connell was awarded the $2.7 million contract to upgrade the north campus substation. This work involved installation of two new 10MVA transformers, construction of a new 35/15KV switchgear building, and new duct bank system. Modifications and upgrades were made to the existing unit substations. Several medium voltage cables and breakers that had failed over recent years were also replaced. In total, 5000 linear feet of new power and control duct banks were installed that included over 15,000 feet of conduit, 35,000 feet of 15KV cable, and 5000 feet of multi-conductor control cables. Project challenges were compounded by the steep wooded parcel where substation construction took place as well as the high student, faculty, and vehicle traffic volume that accompanied the duct bank construction. All surfaces were restored within a twelve week time frame.
O’Connell also completed a $9 million contract for major electrical construction of the 6 story, 235,000 square foot Syracuse University Life Sciences Building, the largest project undertaken in the university’s history.
Target is the second largest discount retailer in the United States. With more than 1770 stores across 49 states and up to 100 new store openings annually, Target maintains a unified, focused approach to retail facility operations and infrastructure management. Target keeps information and communications technology systems current through regular store upgrades, renovations, and maintenance. In addition to ensuring continued efficiency of store operations, these modernization measures promote the Target brand by delivering contemporary, state-of-the-art technological interfaces at every consumer touchpoint to help maximize the overall customer experience.
O’Connell has been keeping the data and security networks at Target stores current and up to date with the latest technologies for over a decade. In coordination with more than a dozen local unions we have worked at over 50 retail facilities across New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. This year, O’Connell will contract for eight to ten store remodels.
O’Connell’s data and security work involves the installation and updating of closed circuit television (CCTV), voice over internet protocol (VOIP), data, sound, and WiFi systems. Our structured cable design and installation spans the store service entrance, equipment rooms, fiber optic backbone and distribution system. We also perform all cable certification testing on both existing and new installs.
Target store remodel projects run on tight schedules with short windows of opportunity to accomplish all necessary work. To help meet time demands as well as minimize interruptions to store operations, O’Connell often establishes a third shift to accomplish work outside of store hours. Our project management team maintains open communications with the customer throughout each project and makes regular visits to the job site. Across our ten year working relationship with Target, O’Connell has completed every project within dictated time parameters and recorded no safety incidents.
The Home Depot is the world’s largest home improvement specialty retailer. They own and operate nearly 2000 warehouse-designed stores worldwide that average 105,000 square feet of floor space. The company established its maintenance and store upgrade program to ensure each facility received the necessary regular maintenance, upgrades, and modernization services to keep them current and safe. Geographically, qualified contractors were screened and certified to perform maintenance, upgrade, and renovation services at The Home Depot stores. Additionally, contractors are on call for emergency service and repairs when such situations arise.
O’Connell service technicians have been providing The Home Depot stores with facilities maintenance, renovation, and emergency electrical services since 1997. We work at 30 stores across New York State from Albany to Buffalo, Binghamton to Massena. O’Connell services electrical, security, and communications systems at The Home Depot Stores providing scheduled service, upgrades and add-ons, and facilitating repairs, moves, and resets as needed.
Our technicians saved one store $30,000 by being able to repair a large oil-filled pad-mounted transformer that had been damaged by a forklift—something a less diversified contractor could not do—saving the company from having to buy a new one. When power was lost at another store, O’Connell technicians were on the scene in 45 minutes and had the situation diagnosed within an hour. We rerouted power through emergency backup systems to get the store quickly back online then repaired the problem affecting primary power in four hours time.
The scope of work and systems we address at The Home Depot stores is broad and varied involving installation and upgrade, modification and retrofit, removal and relocation, replacement and repair, and preventative electrical maintenance and testing of the following: service, conduit, cabling, and wire, lighting (interior & exterior), fire, life safety, surveillance, and security systems, switchgear and transformers, equipment and motor controls, standby generators, UPS, and transfer switches, temperature controls, variable frequency drives, and more. We also provide around-the-clock emergency service response across all systems and for power failures.
O’Connell has built a long-lasting mutually beneficial relationship with The Home Depot through the consistent demonstration of excellence in customer service and craftsmanship combined with dependability and versatility, delivered in both a safe and professional manner.
Time Warner’s regional electrical facilities needed major upgrading to accommodate business growth and assure uninterrupted quality service to customers. The project was deemed ‘mission critical’—success being vital to the company’s goals and objectives in the region.
Retrofitting the existing structure with electrical upgrades and additions posed unique challenges. Time Warner awarded O’Connell a $2.5 million contract for electrical work to provide standby emergency power generation and an uninterruptible power supply system (UPS).
Equipment installations included: three 750 kw generators (with provision for additional generators), five generator control cabinets, a 400kVA UPS system with control cabinet (with provision for three additional systems), additional distribution panels, a thousand lineal feet of 225 amp busway, power logic switching and metering and a paralleling switchgear package.
Additionally, O’Connell contracted to render start-up and commissioning services on the new and upgraded systems. The new work was integrated into Time Warner operations without interruption to customer service and backed by a 3 year warranty.
Turning Stone Resort & Casino, a top-five tourist destination in New York State, recently embarked on a $308 million expansion project. The project included three new structures featuring a twenty-story, 200,000 square foot, 287 room casino hotel, a 5000-seat multipurpose event center, and a 22,000 square foot Winter Garden entry way connecting the two structures.
Our long standing relationship with the Oneida Indian Nation and Turning Stone dates back to completion of the casino’s opening in 1993. For this expansion project, O’Connell Electric provided full electrical construction for the three facilities under a $9.2 million subcontract with Hunt Construction Group.
Scope of work incorporated all primary and secondary power, emergency power systems, conventional as well as specialty interior and exterior lighting, theater sound systems, telephone, data and fire alarm systems, lightning protection, and UPS system. Key materials and equipment installed included 13.2 kV primary and 480/277 secondary service, one 1000 kVA and two 2500 kVA transformers, and a 500 kW standby generator. O’Connell’s innovative approach to construction management yielded productivity enhancements at the job site and helped work crews stay ahead of construction schedules.
United Refining Company (URC) is an independent refiner and marketer of petroleum and derived products. URC’s Warren, Pennsylvania facility produces several grades of unleaded gasoline and asphalt, diesel fuel, kerosene, various industrial fuels, heating oil, liquified petroleum gas, and propane. Operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the refinery processes approximately 70,000 barrels of oil every day.
URC markets and distributes its products across 375 wholly owned and operated retail outlets in Pennsylvania, Upstate New York, and Northeast Ohio. The locations range from service station/convenience stores to truck stops, restaurants, and garages under the brands Kwik Fill, Red Apple Food Marts, and Country Fair.
In addition to ongoing service, maintenance, and project work, United Refining implements turnaround/shutdowns at the Warren facility once every three years to perform plant-wide maintenance and upgrades of equipment and systems and to modify their processes and procedures in accordance with government mandates.
O’Connell employees have been working at United Refining’s Warren, Pennsylvania facility for over 16 years. Our work for the company ranges from a variety of special projects to daily maintenance and service.
For a recent turnaround/shutdown, O’Connell was hired by URC to develop a scope of work which involved upgrades to systems for refining low sulfur gasoline grades and ethanol gasoline processes. Ultimately, O’Connell received a $2 million labor contract to perform the upgrades for which 30 of our electrical technicians worked 12-hour days, seven days a week, for 20 weeks and our project manager moved to Warren. In addition to extensive electrical construction, O’Connell assisted URC engineers in the design of medium and low voltage power distribution systems for mission critical controls and instrumentation. For the general contractor, we developed structural layouts for carrying electrical systems throughout the plant. We also designed and built a medium voltage substation to provide power for a new, increased capacity crude desalter system.
O’Connell’s Technical Services Division recently conducted a year-long plant wide Arc Flash study. Utilizing customer provided one-line diagrams, our TEGG technicians traced the flow of power through distribution systems and metering to all circuit breakers, transformers, capacitors, busbars, and conductors. Information gathered was fed into a software model to determine open equipment hazard levels and the necessary safety gear for working on them. Labels were applied to all equipment with detailed safety information. Upon conclusion of the study, TEGG technicians provided training classes for all applicable URC personnel and on site O’Connell electricians.
Other recent projects completed by O’Connell include an asphalt acid injection system for extended cool weather applications, a rail-based ethanol unloading system, a waste water treatment facility, and a nitrogen compressor project.
O’Connell maintains several technicians at the Warren facility for daily service and maintenance work and trouble shooting. Several years ago our service technicians worked around the clock with URC maintenance workers to repair and rebuild systems damaged by a plant fire.
O’Connell’s proactive approach to safety has garnered United’s confidence and respect. We have continually demonstrated our in-depth knowledge of plant safety procedures and the regulations governing the industry. O’Connell works closely with URC in their commitment with OSHA to develop a preventative safety environment at Warren. URC maintains a five-star rating with OSHA.
Our business relationship with United Refining did not developed by accident. O’Connell takes great care to provide exceptional customer service with ethics and integrity to all its customers. We demonstrate industry leadership by consistently delivering dependable, quality work through innovative means while remaining versatile and adaptable to change and exhibiting an exceptional dedication to safety at all times.
With a student enrollment of nearly 29,000, the University at Buffalo (UB) is the largest public university in the Northeastern United States. As a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the school hosts home football and soccer games as well as track and field events at UB Stadium. Current televising of NCAA football games in High Definition (HD) required greater illumination of the playing field than the original stadium lights could deliver necessitating the rental of additional lights. Concerned about energy efficiency and operating costs of the existing lighting system, UB approved a permanent lighting upgrade for the stadium. In addition to facilitating HD television broadcasts the new eco-friendly stadium lighting system is reported to be saving the university $70,000 in energy costs annually. This aligns with the school’s energy conservation and green building goals outlined under the UB Green initiative.
Under an $860,000 contract from the University at Buffalo, in conjunction with the New York Power Authority, O’Connell was hired as prime contractor to upgrade the lighting systems at UB Stadium. Project scope involved the construction of eight new stadium light structures, demolition of the four existing structures, trenching for new conduit, cable, and wire, and energizing the new lights by tying into the stadium’s existing power supply.
O’Connell subcontracted the eight new concrete foundations, each over twenty-feet deep, as well as the crane work for both setting and demolishing the light towers. The new light structures were installed, aligned, and powered-up in pairs prior to their single-tower counterparts being decommissioned and dismantled. The four existing light structures were cut apart and lowered to the ground where O’Connell technicians systematically disassembled each of the 108 light fixtures for proper recycling and disposal of their electronics, ballasts, lamps, and glass. The eight new light towers carried only 35 light fixtures each (totaling 152 fewer overall than the four original towers) while providing greater illumination at much higher energy efficiency ratings.
O’Connell executed its project work around active field and stadium events, coordinating the clearing of office personnel and athletes from the UB Stadium buildings and field during scheduled pole lifts. O’Connell and its subcontractors met all project obligations with zero reported safety incidents, beating our deadline to have the new lights up and operational for the first televised NCAA college football game of the season.
The University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) is the Greater Rochester region’s largest employer with 20,000 employees and an annual operating budget of nearly $2 billion. URMC is comprised of several academic and health care delivery institutions that include The School of Medicine and Dentistry, Strong Memorial Hospital, Highland Hospital, University of Rochester Medical Faculty Group, James P. Wilmot Cancer Center, and School of Nursing. The Center is one of the country’s top academic medical institutions with research funding ranking within the top 25% nationally for its School of Medicine and 12th highest on the list for its School of Nursing. The combined square-footage of URMC facilities exceeds 8 million.
Our working relationship with the University of Rochester Medical Center spans more than two decades. Throughout this time O’Connell has maintained a continuous active presence across URMC facilities. Having worked on a host of upgrade and modernization projects as well as major renovations and expansions, O’Connell has constructed electrical infrastructure ranging from high voltage power distribution and emergency backup systems to life safety and communications to systems testing and commissioning. We coordinate with the facilities group on day-to-day service and maintenance support and provide emergency response services as needed.
O’Connell has had extensive experience working on projects for the Radiology Department at URMC, as well as at other hospitals. We have acquired a wealth of knowledge and skills addressing the unique electrical challenges and requirements involved with X-ray equipment, CAT and CT scanner, and MRI (Standard, Functional, and Open) installations. Based on O’Connell’s experience in these areas we have been hired by the engineering firms working on various URMC Radiology projects to assist in developing the power system designs and layouts.
Many projects at URMC require our electricians to work in Occupied Patient Areas. When upgrading the Nurse Call System at Strong Memorial Hospital O’Connell technicians needed access to nearly every room including OR. O’Connell has worked on numerous projects where we upgraded patient rooms in fully functioning patient wings. Several Catheterization laboratory (Cath Lab) renovation projects along with our work at a new Electrophysiology (EP) laboratory also required special consideration and action. In such cases, strict adherence to an ICRA (Infection Control Risk Assessment), a multidisciplinary process focused on reducing risk from infection, is mandatory to ensure both patient and worker safety.
O’Connell Electric’s longstanding partnership with the University of Rochester Medical Center stems from a mutual trust and respect that has been fostered between two leaders in their fields along with and unwavering commitment to providing exceptional customer service.
Vernon Downs race track first opened its doors for the harness racing season of 1953. The track holds a prestigious place in the rich history of the sport, known for competitiveness and its fast miles, once coined “Home of the Miracle Mile” after the legendary, Adios Harry, set a world-record time at the track that stood for 18 years. More recently Vernon Downs has expanded its offerings to include hotel accommodations with a casino as well as event center operations to offset the slow decline in racing and to become more competitive in the region. Now coined a “racino”, this latest endeavor undertaken was an $8.1 million renovation and expansion project to upgrade and enlarge the complex’s event center.
Under a contract to VIP Structures of Syracuse, O’Connell Electric was hired to complete all electrical construction for the new 16,000-square-foot multi-purpose event center. The expansion project included alterations affecting two floors of the existing hotel and casino along with construction of a new 70-seat simulcast area to view racing. The main floor of the existing facility was connected to new common areas and ballrooms, receiving and pre-function areas, meeting rooms, a new bar and lounge, and restaurant with kitchen that featured walk-in coolers and freezers. Renovations to the second and third floors of the hotel involved addition of a new mechanical room and the conversion of several hotel rooms into offices for operations and administrative personnel.
We provided the new building’s underground electrical service, designed to back-feed existing electrical distribution equipment, as well as the emergency power distribution system which featured a 500KW Packaged Engine Generator to ensure continual facilities operation. O’Connell installed all branch wiring and feeders for the new distribution power system, interior and exterior lighting with related dimming and control systems, fire and building safety systems, as well as all hook-ups for mechanical equipment.
The casino and hotel operate on a twenty four-hour, seven-day-a-week schedule. To facilitate continued operations during intermittent power outages, O’Connell installed and managed a temporary onsite generator to keep all systems live and facilities operational. The size and nature of the expansion necessitated a larger-scale power shutdown that required advanced planning and sign-off from both Vernon Downs management and the local utility. O’Connell drafted the plan and managed execution of the outage/re-energization process which was carried out flawlessly.
O’Connell employees executed all work responsibly, providing sound resolutions to issues that arose, maintaining professionalism at all times, as well as meeting and exceeding all schedule obligations for this fast-track project.
Developer Noble Environmental Power, sells the electric power generated at the Wethersfield Wind Farm into the New York power market as well as renewable energy credits to green energy marketers. The wind park has 84 General Electric 1.5MW wind turbines capable of producing 126MW of power. The wind farm’s substation steps-up the 34,500 voltage to 230KV for transmission while the switchyard connects the wind farm’s power to New York State Gas & Electric’s 230KV utility grid via a ring bus configuration.
On the Wethersfield project O’Connell contracted with Noble for $6.5 million of electrical construction and testing work. We demonstrated our strength in several areas key to successful wind park operation: power grid Point of Interconnect (POI), switchyard construction, overhead transmission line construction, and total system testing and commissioning.
Construction services included a 230KV POI ring bus switchyard and the six miles of overhead 230KV transmission line. O’Connell’s Technical Services Division conducted end-to-end testing from the collection substation to the switchyard along with functional testing and commissioning of the switchyard.
The project was completed on schedule.