Storied Halls Serving a Changing World: Protecting a Beloved Asset

Fort Leslie J. McNair, National Defense University

The Ask

Located on the Potomac River, the National Defense University (NDU)  is a jewel of the Department of Defense. Within its five ornate masonry buildings, NDU educates and trains the next generation of national security leaders to protect our country. To deliver this mission, NDU cannot afford any system failures or downtime, despite relying on aging equipment with unidentified deficiencies. With this in mind, the Army entrusted Chinook to go above and beyond a routine service agreement and provide a proactive, whole lifecycle approach to maintain its MEP and controls systems.

Carte blanche to do what we do best.

The Story

Chinook dove in, immediately identifying urgent system deficiencies, implementing corrective measures to resolve them, and eliminating risk to NDU’s daily operations. These solutions included upgrades and replacements of actuators, pumps, exhaust fans, HVAC controllers, cooling towers, chillers, and boilers, to name a few. To address longer-term issues, our engineers also recommended a series of major renovations and replacements to improve performance, including scopes of work, ROM pricing, and implementation schedules. Following evaluation by Senior Army Leadership and regular Congressional briefings, the Army approved the full list of recommendations for immediate implementation.

The Outcome

As we continue our partnership with NDU, Chinook leverages our firmwide expertise in cybersecurity, controls, and commissioning to create additional value. Our recommendations include interconnecting the buildings’ stand-alone BAS systems, allowing controls operators to maintain and operate the facilities from a single workstation; developing building-specific re-commissioning plans based on the U.S. Army’s Re-Commissioning Technical Guide; and replacing outdated chiller plants, standardizing them under a single manufacturer to streamline future maintenance.

Buildings supported:


Corrective measures delivered in Year One:


Value of corrective measures identified:

1.7 M

The U.S. Marine Corps Color Guard marches in the rotunda of Roosevelt Hall for the National Defense University’s Marine Corps Birthday Ball at Fort McNair, Washington D.C., Nov. 2, 2017. The Barracks supports Marine Corps Birthday ceremonies throughout the National Capitol Region to honor and celebrate the birth of the Corps.

Keeping Best Interests at Heart

Within NDU’s Roosevelt Hall (aka the National War College) sits the General Colin L. Powell Wing, which serves as a grand event space for our Armed Forces, a conference hall for high ranking DoD officials, and a looming study hall for students. Between its historic cast iron stacks, you’ll find mementos from General Powell’s momentous career and a vast collection of art. Performance and redundancy are paramount to protect these artifacts, ensure occupant comfort, and enhance the student experience. System failures are not an option.

When Chinook determined Roosevelt Hall’s chillers required replacement, we knew from the start it was not in NDU’s best interest to simply replace them with no added redundancy. We developed an alternative approach to remove and replace the interior chillers, install an air cooled chiller outside, and repurpose and extend condenser water piping to feed the chiller, thereby providing redundancy should something fail. Where others would have taken the easy road and provided a short-term fix, Chinook developed a future-focused and proactive solution.

The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.