Cobo Convention Center

Cobo Convention Center

Won-Door Makes the Deadline with Cobo Convention Center

By Sharon Haddock

Cobo Convention Center

Maybe it didn't really fit into the definition of an impossible mission but what the owners of the Cobo Convention Center wanted from Won-Door Corporation came pretty close.

The owners of the Detroit, Mich., facility were asking for a sound-proof, accordion fire door that would replace the six sets of existing swing fire doors and make the entrance into the Macomb Hall more user-friendly and accessible for the crowds who attend the annual North American International Auto Show.

They wanted it in Colonial Blue and they wanted it in seven weeks' time.

Never mind that the standard lead time needed for a Won-Door assembly and installation from approval, color selection and verified field dimensions is a minimum 11 weeks — and that's for a door in the traditional colors and sizes.

The Cobo Convention Center, named for Mayor Albert E. Cobo, and the centerpiece of  Detroit's Civic Center, traditionally hosts the auto show — the largest show of its kind in North America — every January.

Because the show occupies 1 million square feet of floor space, brings in thousands of visitors and generates over $500 million to the local economy, it was imperative that this upgrade to the center be finished before Dec. 24, 2010.

The 2011 show was scheduled to open on Jan. 10.

To be ready in time, a total commitment was required on the part of the architects at SDG Associates LLC, the Jenkins Construction company and Won-Door Corporation.

Mike Stankovich, District Manager for Michigan, Indiana and Illinois, said the project was a "huge success" and a great accomplishment for all of the departments involved.

That included people in the various departments at the headquarters headed by Craig Bell, Mike Hazlett, Mike George and Dave Isakson.

Karen Brown, Northern U.S. Regional Manager for Won-Door, said she signed off on the proposal because she had confidence that Stankovich would "shed light on every detail in the scope of work and collaborate with the production and installation departments to ensure a successful project."

Won-Door engineers did a two-day turnaround on the drawings.

Jenkins Construction demolished a 45-foot, concrete masonry wall in record time, then installed a 45-foot support beam, built a masonry storage pocket and a drywall bulkhead as well.

Electrical engineers tied in the door's mechanics with the Cobo Center BACnet building automation management system, making it operable by remote control.

Won-Door installation technician Aaron Hill, worked right up until the day he had to leave for his Christmas holiday installing the door.

The single-parting, Won-Door FireGuard, 30' x 10' 3 ¼" door was thus fully operational prior to the auto show opening,  providing a beautiful and acoustically insulated curtain between the main entry and the four-story concourse.

The door provides sound separation and fire protection when it is closed for events that did not require access to the main hall.

Geoffrey Harrison, president of SPG Architects, said it made perfect sense to use Won-Door for the renovation.

"We used Won-Door on the Greektown Casino project and we were very happy with the results," Harrison said.

"The Won-Door product was better technically for what we needed," Harrison said, because the next eligible bidder was offering a single-skin product opposed to Won-Door's double-skin door.

He added that Won-Door employees worked round-the-clock to meet the immovable 7-week deadline and the opening was a spectacular one given the beauty of the blue door.

Harrison said it's highly probable that Won-Door Corporation will be tapped again for new and replacement doors needed for the Cobo Center $221 million, just-announced and publicly funded ongoing renovation.