New Jersey

Image Courtesy of Ocean Thermal Energy Corp.
Sea Change: Ocean Thermal Energy's $100-million cooling system will pump 25,000 gallons of seawater via a closed-loop system.
Photo Courtesy of AECOM
Bridging Gaps: At a California school, students who received free "Those Amazing Engineers" books practice what they've learned.

DCO Wins Contract for Seawater System

DCO Energy LLC, Mays Landing, N.J., has won the engineering, procurement and construction contract for work on a $100-million seawater district cooling system (SDC) at a resort under construction in Nassau, Bahamas. This is the world's first such system, DCO says.

Ocean Thermal Energy Corp., Lancaster, Pa., developed the 12,000-ton SDC system and signed a 30-year energy service contract with the Bara Mar Resort last December. Ocean Thermal will build, own and operate the system, which is expected to be operational in December 2013, about a year before the $3.5-billion resort construction is completed.

The system includes four 500-hp turbine deep-well pumps that will draw 25,000 gallons a minute of seawater into the resort via a closed-loop system. The system does not include refrigerants and will supply chilled seawater from a depth of more than 3,600 ft.

DCO says the technology is environmentally friendly and will save up to 90% of the cost of using traditional energy sources while reducing annual carbon dioxide emissions by about 25,000 tons.

"The project is groundbreaking for a number of reasons: from a system standpoint, an environmental standpoint, an economic standpoint," says Frank DiCola, DCO president and CEO.

New York

6 Architects Short-Listed for Tech Campus

Cornell University has chosen six architectural firms to design the core academic building for the planned applied sciences campus that the university is developing with Technion-Israel Institute of Technology on Roosevelt Island in New York City. Cornell says it will select the winner and sign a contract this month.

The finalists are Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Chicago; Office for Metropolitan Architecture, Rotterdam, The Netherlands; Diller Scofidio + Renfro, New York; Morphosis Architects, Santa Monica, Calif.; Steven Holl Architects, New York; and Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, Wilkes-Barre, Pa. Each firm will be asked to assemble a team and prepare to be interviewed about design plans.

The first phase of the campus is expected to break ground by the beginning of 2015.

New York

Bringing the Industry to the Classroom

The industry is in big trouble when it comes to fifth- and sixth-graders. "Most of them think engineers just drive trains," says Rose Reichman, partner at Trilogy Publications, Englewood Cliffs, N.J. But her firm is out to change that with the next in its series of "Those Amazing" books; this one is focused on careers in the building industry, due out by year-end.

"'Those Amazing Builders' covers everything from who's on the building team, to laying bricks to designing electrical systems, to managing a mega-project," Reichman says. This book will be aimed at ninth- and 10th-graders, an older audience than Trilogy's "Those Amazing Engineers" and "Those Amazing Scientists," published in 2005 and 2010, respectively, which target fifth- and sixth-graders.

"The construction industry is having a really hard time. There's concern that there are not enough young people going into construction—at all levels," she says, adding that the goal of the books is to raise awareness of possible careers in the A/E/C industry.

Reichman also hopes that the books, Trilogy's first children's series, will allow her firm to join the Children's Book Council, a nonprofit trade association that accepts book series to market to libraries nationwide.

Reichman also hopes to spur more industry interest in sponsoring Trilogy's Adopt-A-School program, which matches private donors with schools across the country that request free copies of the books. More than 20 firms—including AECOM, Halcrow, Michael Baker Engineering and Thornton Tomasetti—already participate in the program. In New York, Trilogy has placed 6,240 books in 47 schools so far.

New York

Court Orders NYSDOT to Rebid Highway Project

A state court has ordered the New York State Dept. of Transportation to cancel an interchange upgrade project already under way and rebid the job because the agency violated competitive bidding laws by requiring compliance with a project labor agreement.

A state Supreme Court judge in Albany ruled that including the labor pact was illegal in this case and "tainted" the bidding process by its inclusion. The agency says in a statement that it is reviewing its options "to maximize taxpayer dollars on this critically important transportation project." The agency halted all work on the project on March 5, a spokeswoman says.

At issue is a $72.4-million contract to upgrade Route 17 and the Exit 122 EB interchange in Orange County that was awarded to joint venture firm A. Servidone/B. Anthony Construction Corp., Castleton, N.Y. The joint venture's bid complied with the project agreement and was $4.5 million higher than the lowest bid.

The state DOT had originally advertised the project without a project labor requirement early last year with a March 24, 2011, bid deadline. However, the judge's decision indicates that the Hudson Valley Building and Construction Trades Council proposed a project agreement for the job, which NYSDOT ultimately approved.

In his ruling, Justice Joseph C. Teresi says the agency failed to demonstrate that the decision to include compliance with the project agreement had "as its purpose and likely effect the advancement of the interests embodied in the competitive bidding statutes."

NYSDOT added a project labor requirement for the job 11 days prior to the bid date, says Mark Galasso, president of Lancaster Development Inc. Richmondville, N.Y., the low bidder. Galasso contends that NYSDOT rejected his firm's bid after opening because it did not comply with a labor requirement as the procurement initially stipulated. Lancaster sued the agency over the award.

"We had already prepared the bid," Galasso says. "But, last minute, they had a requirement of the job that the contractor who won the bid had to use union work force." Had the agency's original advertisement indicated that the job required a PLA, "we would have been unable to bid," he says.

However, A. Servidone/B. Anthony Construction joint venture team, which began construction on the job last October, had already completed some of the work before the project was canceled. "The joint venture bid the job as per the proposal set forth by the state Department of Transportation. There was only one way to bid," says Mark Servidone, president of A. Servidone Inc. "Our company followed the provisions of the bid proposal."

Both contractors say they will wait to see whether NYSDOT decides to accept the judge's ruling and rebid the job.