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Simson Gumpertz & Heger Building

Simpson Gumpertz & Heger
Location: Waltham, MA
Electrical value: $700,000

Simpson Gumpertz & Heger (SG&H) is a nationally recognized structural engineering firm. Projects they have worked on include the Spaceship Earth attraction at Walt Disney World's Epcot themepark, Simmons Hall at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the New York State Capitol Building.

SG&H outgrew their headquarters in Arlington, Massachusetts and needed more space, preferably on a single floor. They leased a 55,000 square foot space in need of complete overhaul at the former Ratheon plant in Waltham.

Selected by the general contractor, Spaulding and Slye, MEI was the preferred electrical contractor for the job. The move of over 180 employees was scheduled months in advance with a target date of Labor Day weekend. This deadline meant just 16 weeks from demolition to occupancy, setting a very, very fast pace with MEI teams putting in overtime at night and on weekends.

The building’s interior was left bare with exposed steel I-beams rising from the floor to the 24-foot ceilings. The design featured an open ceiling concept - a great challenge because nothing is hidden. With all wiring and equipment exposed, everything must be pleasing to the eye. Ventilation ducts are visible and fluorescent light fixtures dangle from the ceiling. Power distribution is by exposed cable tray with cables visible behind transparent partitions. Primarily, EMT conduit and cable tray were used as wiring methods.

All on one floor, the space had to function on multiple levels – office, research lab, training facility and art gallery, creating a tremendous design opportunity for MEI to provide state-of-the-art lighting appropriate to each area. Rather than a standard fit-up with 2x4 drop-in fixtures and duplex receptacles throughout, every area was like a separate job - each with a special lighting design and power distribution. For example, lighting in the library is a unique low voltage cable track; that is, electrified cable pulled taut with small fixtures hanging from it.

Without question, distinctive, creative lighting resulting from teamwork defined this project. The architect went to great lengths to find the right fixtures for each area and coordinated with us to achieve the effect the design called for when the fixture was finally hung. Cable-hung HID fixtures followed curved walls some 15 feet below. Low voltage track was suspended 15 feet from the roof in circular patterns. Towards the end of the project, daily on-site coordination and adjustments took place between MEI and the architect to ensure the look the client wanted was achieved.

The move took place as scheduled, and the Simpson Gumpertz & Heger firm is thriving in its attractive, functional new headquarters.