Cooling Tower Replacement


Los Angeles, CA





General Contractor


Federal Bureau of Prisons

Delicate Logistics at L.A.’s High-Rise Prison

Precision tackled a cooling tower project atop a fully functioning, downtown L.A. prison – and completed the job months ahead of schedule.

The project would have been highly complex no matter where it was: Replace two 255-ton cooling towers on the roof of a nine-story building. But the building happened to be the busy Metropolitan Detention Center in Downtown L.A., one of the nation’s first high-rise prisons, and it was surrounded by crowded city streets and a perpetually congested freeway.

Work required three cranes, multiagency coordination for road closures and traffic control, and CalTrans encroachment permits for US-101. After removing the old units, the parapet walls, and roofing, temporary cooling units had to be installed while work was underway, because the prison did not cease operations throughout the $1.5 million project.

The remaining scope of work included installing the two stainless steel BAC VTI-N255-P cooling towers, adding new tapered insulation and sheathing to slope the roof for better drainage; replacing studs, insulation, and fire protection systems; adding new flashing and rebuilding parapet walls; plastering, waterproofing, and painting; and adding a neoprene coating with extra padding to walkways around the perimeter of the towers. Security required 30-minute check-ins for each worker, including logging every tool, plus extensive background checks and escorts at all times.

Despite the job’s complexity, Precision completed the project 63 days ahead of schedule, with work rated exceptional by the BOP in every category: quality, schedule, management, and regulatory compliance. As Donald Osborn, the BOP engineer and assessing official, put it: “Precision was on top of all considerations required for the location factor. I was very happy with the working relationship I had with the contractor and their team. They proved to be flexible, innovative, and cooperative.”

Precision Construction Services' project Cooling Tower Replacement
Cooling Tower Replacement
535 North Alameda Street
Los Angeles, CA United States