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Chelsea District Health Center

The Chelsea District Health Center is a landmark-quality Art-Deco era public community health center, located within the confines of Chelsea Park. In partnership with the owner, NYC Department of Design and Construction, and the architect, Stephen Yablon Architecture, Andron Construction performed general contracting services for this major renovation.

Scope of Work

The project scope involved interior demolition and ACM abatement, exterior façade demolition, select site work and plantings, and exterior renovations including a glass curtain wall, all new windows, and façade restoration. The roof was replaced to accommodate the new infrastructure and MEP systems and hosts a perforated Corian roof screen to hide equipment from view.

New interiors include an accessible front entrance, modern elevator, new finish carpentry and casework, doors and hardware, and hi-tech finishes and furnishings. Contemporary interiors maximize views and natural light, highlighting the location within a public park. Undulating wood ceilings and natural floor finishes complement the outdoor space. All construction was performed while preserving the building’s original Art Deco exterior.

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The Goal of the Project

Efficiency and durability were directives from the city’s Department of Design and Construction. The goal of the building is to be certified LEED-Gold. Andron contributed to this effort with identification and tracking during the submittal process, streamlining all the information for the LEED submissions.

We approached this green project in the same way that we approach all our projects: we aimed for the highest quality at the best price. Upgrades included energy-efficient lighting and windows, low-flow plumbing, recycled steel and wood fixtures, and easy to clean porcelain floors.

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Challenge One: Responsiveness

The Chelsea District Health Center had an original construction schedule of 23 months, with a phasing plan. This initial phasing plan was stymied early on by discovering additional Asbestos-Containing Materials /ACM requiring abatement. Additionally, deficiencies were discovered in the existing structure that required review and additional design.

Solution: Andron worked with the owner to re-phase the job to ensure completion within the original duration. Andron surveyed conditions and provided timely reports to the design team to address issues without impacting the construction schedule. This project had aggressive MBE, WBE, and DBE goals mandated by State and City agencies. By working with these agencies, Andron not only met but exceeded all the requirements.

Our team took on the role of mentor to assist the smaller contractors in successfully completing a project of this size. Our program aims to promote an inclusive vendor community and develop opportunities for construction-related businesses. We continually look for ways to identify qualified and capable firms through outreach, training, and mentoring activities.

Challenge Two: Upgrading Windows

The original contract called for window replacements in the basement and first-floor annex. As the building renovation came to life during construction, the owner began to question the initial window scope. It became apparent that, because of the nature and the detail of this major renovation, all the windows should be new.

Solution: After debating what would be in the best interest of the health center and its constituents, the decision was made to replace every window. Since interior finishes have already begun, the construction schedule would suffer. However, Andron was determined to protect the construction schedule as much as possible. The existing windows were demo-ed and weather-protected, and the new windows were fabricated and installed – all while interior finishing work continued throughout the building.

Chelsea District Health Center PHOTOS ©Michael Moran
Chelsea District Health Center PHOTOS ©Michael Moran

Challenge Three: Innovative Construction Techniques

The original 1937 Chelsea District Health Center was built with structural terracotta block walls and waffle slab construction, a popular choice of the time. However, the fragile nature of this material required careful consideration during this renovation.

One of the major design elements of the improved Chelsea District Health Center is a central, stainless steel staircase with a glass curtain wall that faces the park at the back of the building and extends from the basement up through the roof. The construction of this new stairwell required the exterior wall to be removed and replaced with an aluminum and glass curtain wall.

Solution: To accomplish this, Andron surveyed the stair and the elevation after the demolition. It was determined that an additional structure was needed in the shaft. After coordinating with the architect and engineer, Andron provided additional shoring and structure for the new stair.

To help meet the LEED-Gold standards set forth by the owner and the architect, Andron monitored compliance requirements and streamlined the process. Product data and LEED items were identified early and tracked during the submittal process to facilitate the LEED certification. This eased the burden on the architect and the LEED consultant.

Competition Entry

“2018 Build New York Award: Associated General Contractors of New York State”  entrant