The historic Mariners House in Boston’s North End has long been a sanctuary for seafarers, offering comfort and refuge to those who make their living at sea. Constructed over 175 years ago as a temperance boarding house, The Inn remains an integral part of Boston’s maritime heritage.
The Mariners House was founded by the managers of the Boston Port and Seamen’s Aid Society. The Society derives its funds solely from private endowments and contributors and maintains a volunteer staff of twenty-five managers who oversee its operations.
Massachusetts Maritime Academy graduate, Jim Sorrentino ’80, took over as Executive Director of the house in 2016.
By 2020, Sorrentino was faced with the challenge of an aging AC system that was showing signs of fatigue and beginning to fail.
Replacing the system responsible for conditioning the air of 22 guest rooms, a parlor, a library, a galley, and a chapel/meeting hall would be a substantial project and require Society funding. Sorrentino began to plan.
Mariners House heating service provider, John Sieminski ’86, Wilkinson Company’s VP of Service Operations and MMA alum, recommended LC Anderson for the job.
Charting the Course: Project Phases
The project lead was Kevin Huska ’18, a Massachusetts Maritime Academy alum and Sales Engineer at LC Anderson. Additional members of the LC Anderson team included intern Matthew White ’25, a dozen techs, operations, and service personnel, and were overseen by co-principal Kurt Hudson ’92.
The massive task of replacing over 50 AC fan coil units was carefully planned two years before starting the project in 2023. For budgetary and operational reasons, the team divided the project into three stages. The first phase would begin in April, phase two in June and the final phase in October.
Navigating Timeline Deviations
One of the key objectives Sorrentino defined from the outset was to ensure that the House could host guests while units were being replaced. LCA technicians installed three separate sets of isolation valves on the hot water and chilled water risers to isolate each section of the building, providing separate pathways for delivering conditioned air. Although it took longer than expected due to the confined spaces and the building’s age, it enabled operations to continue throughout the project.
“Our biggest challenge was the equipment lead times,” Huska stated, “We were able to mitigate lead time issues with our proactive planning and ordering early for each phase.”
Team Contribution and Applying Lessons Learned
Huska praised his team’s commitment and communication skills as crucial to the project’s success. Confirming dimensions was imperative given the older infrastructure and tight quarters. “From our technicians to our operations and service personnel. Everyone was dedicated to the project,” Huska remarked.
In terms of future improvements, Huska pointed out that better labeling on units ordered from the manufacturer would have made the installation process easier for the technicians. Also, paying extra attention to bleeding air out of the pipes would be beneficial for future similar older building projects.
Impact on Mariners and Sustainability Efforts
With an economical, 3-speed fan, each unit adjusts to meet varying load requirements, ensuring that the right amount of conditioned air is always delivered to keep guests comfortable. The systems’ Permanent Split Capacitor (PSC) motors provide reliable performance over a long-life span ensuring consistent indoor comfort levels. Each unit is lined with sound-absorbing insulation for a quieter, more serene environment.
“LC Anderson has been a true partner,” stated Jim Sorrentino. “They took the time to understand how we operate and were sensitive to our mission of keeping the house fully operational throughout the project. Our one-pipe system meant that we were going to be without heat and AC at the beginning, so the timing was critical. From preplanning to staging and installation, LC Anderson demonstrated exceptional project management. The team’s attention to detail, communication, flexibility, and level of care, ensured that our operation remained uninterrupted.”
The AC replacement project at the Mariners House stands as a testament to the power of meticulous planning and efficient teamwork. It not only underscores LC Anderson’s commitment to high-quality service but also highlights the impact Massachusetts Maritime Academy alumni continue to make in their respective fields.
Learn more about working with LC Anderson here or contact us at 617-779-9500 with questions or for service and support.