Since 1988, the Seattle Convention Center (formerly the Washington State Convention Center) has hosted numerous banquets, trade shows, tech conferences, flower and garden shows, and everything in between. It’s a true fixture of downtown Seattle.
By the mid-2000s, the Convention Center was turning away business due to space constraints, making it clear that the center would have to expand to keep up with growing demand.
In 2018, ground was broken on an additional building, adding 248,450 square feet of new exhibit space and acoustically treated halls, 62 meeting rooms spanning all levels, 27,000 square feet of garden terrace, and a 58,000 square foot, column-free ballroom. The expansion, called “Summit” (the original convention center is named “Arch”), has more than doubled the current center’s capacity.
After participating in pre-construction planning in 2017, PRIME was contracted to install specialty electrical systems including: fire alarm; structured cabling for voice and data systems; low-voltage systems (audio/visual); public address and paging systems; Assistance Intercom System; security; access controls; CCTV; public safety and cellular DAS; wireless access; and all associated horizontal branch conduit and cable tray pathways.
Our scope also included a Complete Standalone Back of House Network which includes switches and servers to over 50 communications rooms. PRIME installed a Point-to-Point Microwave Antenna system between Arch and Summit. These two systems allowed the building to be networked far ahead of substantial completion allowing contractors to turn on, troubleshoot and commission their building systems ahead of time.
PRIME also performed heavy electrical construction associated with the Street Improvement Project (SIP), including all installations to upgrade nearby intersections, traffic signals, trolley lines and reroute traffic around the construction site.
Saving Time with Billboarding
Projects of this scope and complexity are always a challenge. But an innovative construction method allowed everyone working on the project to simplify workflow and save time. Traditionally, buildings are completed bottom-to-top, leaving some subcontractors waiting for their turn to start work. But in the “billboarding” system employed at Summit (the first of this scale in the Northwest), the entire construction is broken into zones, arranged laterally running east to west. The zones are completed one at a time. On Summit, this allowed us to start work sooner and work in smaller, continuous chunks instead of pausing to let construction progress.
The Seattle Convention Center Summit opened in January 2023. We’re proud to be part of a project that is so central to the region’s cultural and commercial life — and especially proud to showcase our superb craftsmanship and attention to detail, maintaining our strong ties with contractor partners, owners, local stakeholders, and more.
Photo ©Adam Hunter/LMN Architects