WHEN A FACILITY SUCH AS THE EDWARD M. KENNEDY INSTITUTE (EMKI) opens its doors to the public, the collaboration that made it a reality isn’t apparent. Of course, the state-of-the-art lighting, automation and room to grow are obvious and impressive, but behind the story of the institute for learning and lifelike Senate experience is a general contractor and host of subcontractors that worked together for several years to ensure the building met its deadlines and offered all of the cutting-edge features.
The EMKI showcases the 47-year career of the late Massachusetts senator, Edward “Ted” Kennedy, as well as the history and functions of the U.S. Senate. With that in mind, the building, located on the campus of the University of Massachusetts (UMass), Boston, features an exact likeness of the U.S. Senate chamber, provides information about senators from every state, and has classroom space. It also features a replica of Kennedy’s Washington, D.C., office.
This $57 million project required the collaboration of contractors, including electrical contractor Lynnwell Associates, which provided primary electrical construction; J.M. Electrical Co. Inc., which installed the building automation controls; an architect, engineers and designers; and Kennedy’s wife, Victoria Reggie Kennedy, who helped design the institute’s concept.
Other electrical contractors included Boston Lightning Rod Co. of Dedham, Mass., for the lightning-protection system and LAN-TEL Communications Inc., Norwood, Mass., for the tele-data installations. The 68,000-square-foot building was designed by architect Rafael Viñoly and is located adjacent to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum at the UMass Boston campus on the Columbia Point waterfront.
The building’s centerpiece is the full-scale Senate Chamber, and it also includes a lobby, three large classrooms and an exhibition area. The public, UMass students and faculty members can view dramatic recreations of significant moments in U.S. Senate history inside a large amphitheater that can replicate the current Senate chamber or the one from 1810–1859.
Lynnwell won the $5.1 million contract for electrical work in January 2013. It installed the primary and emergency power distribution systems as well as all interior and outdoor lighting, according to Larry Mahoney, Lynnwell vice president and project executive. On the low-voltage side, the company also installed the Lutron lighting controls, an Electrosonic audiovisual (AV) system and Siemens fire alarm system.