IBEW/NECA Team on Renovation to Gateway Arch Grounds


Six St. Louis NECA Contractors Energize the Visitor Experience 

The July 4, 2018 festivities celebrating the newly renovated Gateway Arch grounds in St. Louis brought a great deal of pride to the Electrical Connection IBEW/NECA partnership.  The project included six electrical contractors with the St. Louis Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) and more than 100 skilled International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1 electricians and communication technicians. The IBEW/NECA team improved the electrical infrastructure to support new interactive exhibits and other attractions at the renamed Gateway Arch National Park, formerly known as the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial.

“While our workforce delivers excellence on all of our projects, this one was special because of the civic pride in the iconic memorial that celebrates St. Louis and its role in westward expansion,” said Frank Jacobs, IBEW Local 1 business manager.

The five-year, $380 million rejuvenation of the Arch grounds was completed in time for the annual Fair St. Louis Independence Day celebration.  The more than 90-acre national park beneath the 630-foot tall Gateway Arch received refreshed landscaping that also made the grounds more accessible to downtown St. Louis.  It also included expanding the Gateway Arch Visitors Center and a new interactive Museum of Westward Expansion.

“NECA contractors modernized electrical and communications systems to improve the overall visitor experience in dynamic ways,” noted Doug Martin, executive vice president, St. Louis NECA. “Our members are proud to have played an important role in connecting the public to St. Louis’ role in such an important chapter of U.S. history.”

NECA contractor Guarantee Electric Co. (GECO) served as the prime electrical contractor for the team lead by general contractors McCarthy and Kozeny Wagner. Its work has been honored as a finalist for 2018 AGC Keystone Awards.  GECO provided the Museum of Western Expansion with a new 4,000-amp electrical service.  It also supplied a fully digital communication system throughout the facility supporting video surveillance, security sensors and alarms, access control and fire alarm along with the infrastructure supplying state-of-the-technology high-speed Internet. The daylight-infused museum entry space is enhanced by 1.5-inch wide LED strips embedded in a unique tube ceiling designed to highlight a giant floor map of the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers from which the Lewis & Clark Expedition launched its westward exploration in 1803.  The Museum’s advanced lighting system optimizes daylighting to enhance an open landscape experience two stories underground.

NECA contractors Aschinger Electric and X-Cell Electric teamed on a complete overhaul of the Arch tram infrastructure, including advanced automation. A new digital system improves overall reliability of the tram.   Sensors now continually monitor tram motor temperatures, oil pump pressure and other key aspects of system function. All of the data is integrated by new programmable logic controllers giving maintenance personnel a real-time view of system performance to take preventative measures before problems occur. Improvements were also made to all safety system backups to assure a safe and enjoyable experience for the up to 6,000 people who ride the tram to the top of the Arch each day.  Aschinger’s and X-Cell’s tram work was performed for the Harlan Co.  Aschinger also completed the north and south Arch Grounds power and lighting projects for McCarthy.

NECA contractor Kaemmerlen Electric assisted Conference Technologies with upgrading the tram loading areas.  That included the lighting, fire alarm, and power for the various projectors, displays and racks of AV equipment.  It also included low-voltage work adding fiber optics for support of the AV equipment, displays and projectors to improve the vistior experience they wait for the trams, including a projector above each door to the trams to inform and entertain visitors. Kaemmerlen also added ticker-style informational displays for the walk from the museum area to the tram.

Liberty Electric, another NECA contractor, installed temperature controls and low voltage electrical needs in the museum.  Finally, NECA contractor Briner Electric performed work to improve Luther Ely Smith Square, including site lighting and electrical infrastructure.

See the IBEW Local 1 video on the renovation project.

Electrical Connection members provide safe and reliable electrical construction, maintenance, repair and replacement services across Missouri, the nation and the world.  For more information visit www.electricalconnection.org.

Photo credits: Gateway Arch Park Foundation

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