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Star Service Builds HVAC Mechanical Systems Upgrade for Gulf Coast Museum

Star Service Builds HVAC Mechanical Systems Upgrade for Gulf Coast Museum

The Walter Anderson Museum of Art in Ocean Springs, Mississippi is dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the works of artist, illustrator and author Walter Inglis Anderson.

Anderson is celebrated as an American master whose depictions of the plants, animals and people of the Gulf Coast have placed him among the foremost of 20th Century American painters.

Opened in 1991, the museum’s skylit interior includes a main galleria and two additional galleries that echo the natural beauty and simplicity of its coastal setting. Unfortunately, the HVAC mechanical systems were starting to show their age, causing more and more problems with each passing year. As a result, the "natural coastal setting” was subjecting museum-goers to the heat and high humidity of the Southern Gulf Coast. The unreliable air conditioning didn’t simply mean uncomfortable art patrons; it also meant the art itself was in danger. The museum’s permanent collection of more than 1,000 watercolors, drawings, oils, block prints, ceramics and carvings have to be maintained in the environmental conditions necessary for art preservation.

Frequent equipment failures and HVAC systems downtime meant the sensitive and historically significant works of art were threatened by the hot Ocean Springs climate and sub-tropical humidity. Though the museum was having constant problems with breakdowns, no local service contractors could fix the system and keep it running. The museum’s energy costs, meanwhile, continued to go up. That’s when Mississippi Power Company, headquartered in nearby Gulfport, recommended Star Service.

During our initial evaluation process, museum officials made it clear they wanted long-term peace of mind. They needed to know their ongoing system issues would be remedied by a reliable, competent service company. Star Service, Inc. of Mobile was able to design-engineer the upgrade and recommission of the museum’s mechanical systems. The custom project required a quick turnaround, including the demolition and disposal of existing mechanical systems. We installed a new chilled water system, an ASI Controls building automation system. Improved humidity controls were also installed. In addition, we added a new critical environmental system to the museum’s vault to protect highly sensitive works of art.

The museum now has a highly reliable environmental controls system. Star Service is currently servicing their HVAC systems under a Guaranteed Professional Maintenance Program (GPM), which includes ongoing preventative maintenance, supplies, parts and components, and 24/7 labor. This means Star is responsible for not only maintaining the equipment but also repairing the systems at no additional cost to the museum, as there is one bill per month. Star’s preventative maintenance program includes emergency calls, labor, parts and supplies, placing the burden on Star to ensure proper maintenance." Our technicians make sure the equipment doesn't fail, and if it does, we repair it on our dime.”

Following the upgrades, Mississippi Power verified that the electric power consumption of the museum had been greatly reduced.Along with the added value of having a full-coverage agreement with Star, this gave museum administrators the peace of mind, knowing that they could budget their monthly HVAC cost and they gave museum attendees the opportunity to appreciate the works of art in comfort.

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