Global Center for Health Innovation and Cleveland Convention Center

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Project Description

Karpinski Engineering provided mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineering for the Global Center for Health Innovation and the Cleveland Convention Center. This $465-million facility includes a medical mart with four floors of permanent, themed showrooms to display the future of the health care industry. Adjacent is a conference center to accommodate seminars, keynote sessions, and conferences.

The new facility is located beside the Public Auditorium and replaces the previous convention center. Prior to design of the new facility, Karpinski Engineering provided a facility study of the Public Auditorium and old convention center. The study identified ways to separate MEP services and systems between the auditorium and the old convention center, which were intertwined through decades of operation and renovations. Complete new infrastructure was designed to separate the Public Auditorium from the old convention center, allowing the auditorium to remain operational during demolition of the old convention center and new facility construction.

The convention center is located underground, with green space above, which created interesting challenges for the Karpinski Engineering team in terms of utilities, drainage, and ventilation. The subterranean space required outdoor ventilation stacks to deliver outdoor air and remove exhaust. These stacks would impact the aethetics of the green space on the mall above. Team collaboration led to a creative solution. The stacks are located above the convention center, on the mall north of Lakeside Avenue, and feature artistic cladding, making them as much a design feature as a necessary HVAC component.

Five smoke exhaust systems were included in the design: one for the medical mart atrium, one for the medical mart’s ballroom and meeting room areas, and one for each of the three exhibit halls. The systems for the exhibit halls use an airflow system that reverses from normal operation to exhaust high in the space while supplying makeup air down low. This feature permitted the use of normal HVAC equipment in a dual role to provide smoke control as well as day-to-day HVAC.

An early detection air sampling smoke detection system (VESDA) was used in the exhibit halls and in the medical mart atrium. The system consists of rows of air sampling tubing. In the atrium, the tubing is concealed above the ceilings with only small openings in the ceiling at the sampling locations.

The exhibit halls are used for diverse events and were designed for extreme versatility. Under floor service boxes offer a variety of electrical, A/V, and network connections, as well as water and waste provisions. The boxes were installed on a 30’ x 30’ grid and can accommodate special exhibitor requests, such as media connections. Additionally, a unique digitally controlled lighting system permits indiviual control of every lighting fixture in the exhibit halls to improve diversity. Powering the facility and its grounds are three 11,400 Volt underground feeders – one acting as a spare – that distribute to nine unit substations. The facility has an emergency generator that feeds the fire pump; life safety loads such as emergency egress lighting and the fire alarm system; and standby loads including the smoke exhaust system, kitchen freezers and refrigerators, and the security system.


  • 2015 Award of Excellence in Design & Construction | New Construction, Large Project | Cleveland Engineering Society
  • Award of Merit Office/Retail/Mixed Use | ENR Midwest Best Projects 2014


Project Stats
Design Date: 2011
Completion Date: 2013
Project Cost: $465,000,000.00
Square Footage: 1,500,000
City: Cleveland
State: Ohio
Name: Global Center for Health Innovation and Cleveland