Western States Fire Protection Co. Completes Colorado Convention Center

Colorado Convention Center Project

Western States Fire Protection Co. installed an automatic fire sprinkler system for the Colorado Convention Center Phase II Expansion. This 285 million dollar project doubled the size of the Convention Center, adding approximately 1,400,000 square feet of new space and transformed the building into a landmark that represents a gateway to downtown Denver. The project was completed in January 2005.

The expansion includes:

  • New 1,000-space parking garage.
  • New 5,000 fixed-seat auditorium.
  • New 50,000 square foot ballroom.
  • Existing exhibit hall increased from 290,000 to 600,000 square feet that can be divided into blocks of space according to the needs of the event.
  • 23 new covered truck-loading docks, served by their own roadway that completely encircles the building.
  • The existing 65,000 square feet of meeting space was increased to 93,000 square feet.

Western States Fire Protection Co. installed 23 dry systems feeding the parking structure, loading docks and over the RTD light rail track & Stout Street. They also installed 25 wet systems feeding the exhibit hall, ballroom and lecture hall meeting rooms; 60 additional fire hose valve stations and 4 separate valve rooms. Approximately 15,000 fire sprinkler heads were added with the expansion project.

Project Challenges

The new design required the city street and light rail train be relocated from it’s existing alignment which was in the middle of the new Convention Center expansion. The city street and light rail train was moved north, to bend around the expansion. This required the Convention Center be built over the top of the light rail in order to facilitate the installation of the overhead catenary power lines, which were anchored to the new building. The work had to take place while the street and light rail line were still in service. Very tight coordination limited the outages to the weekends. Due to careful planning, the rail service did not have any unscheduled downtime.

The fire detection system had to be incorporated into the existing fire alarm panel while not taking the system off line for over eight hours. Western States Fire Protection Co. was able to design and install a new fire alarm panel and make a single point termination from each existing fire alarm device to the new panel, with no interruptions to the facility.
During the first quarter of construction, the owner requested that the parking garage be completed a year early so that they could generate revenue from the parking fees. Western States Fire Protection Co. was able to design and install a temporary life safety and egress path in order to receive a TCO from the City of Denver in order to open the 1,000 car garage early.