Project Spotlight: The First Baptist Church of Paschell

Lima Company Project Spotlight

Lima Company recently completed the design and replacement of the HVAC unit for FIRST BAPTST CHURCH OF PASCHELL, where Rev. Dr. W. Wilson Goode, Sr. is currently minister of administration. The first image you may conjure up when you first hear the name Wilson Goode, is his reign as Philadelphia’s first African American Mayor, a position he served for two terms, from 1984 to 1992. Now, people know him for his contributions to the community. Dr. Goode is the founder of Amachi group (, which helps children of incarcerated parents. Rev. Dr. Goode is an ordained Baptist Minister with 57 years of service at the First Baptist Church of Paschall, located in southwest Philadelphia.

Lima Company was commissioned to accomplish two goals. Our first goal as to find a way to provide a new air handling unit (AHU) for the church that could supply 24,000 CFM of conditioned air, as well as fit into the building without the removal of the load bearing exterior wall. The second goal was to have a system installed and functional within 5 days so that the congregation’s Sunday service would not be interrupted during the busiest period for the congregation leading up to Christmas.

Here is a summary of what we completed. We replaced the church’s 60 year old 24,000 CFM Hot Water Heat/DX Cooling air handling unit. When the church was built back in the 1950’s, the mechanical room walls were closed in after the air handler was installed due to the physical size of the unit. A similar replacement unit would have been too large to fit thru the mechanical room corridors and doorways, not to mention moving a 5,000 pound replacement unit without the aid of a fork lift. To cut open the mechanical room wall would have required the support of a load bearing wall and the matching of 60 year old glazed brick when the wall was replaced after completion. Lima’s solution was to replace the existing unit with two Custom Built AHU’s, that not only provided the church with 2 stages of heating and cooling, but was also able to fit into the existing mechanical room without having to touch the load bearing walls. The original mechanical room was a designed return air plenum. Lima Company replaced this with a ducted return, which allowed for a more efficient filtered system. The automatic control system was designed to tie into the church’s existing TAC Energy Management System which included new motorized outside air dampers, duct smoke detects, air temperature sensors, and both heating and air conditioning staging.

To accomplish this replacement and to have the heating system operational within the 5 day time frame was no small feat. The existing 5,000 pound unit had to be dismantled and cut into manageable pieces to be removed from the building. Two new 2,500 pound custom AHU’s had to be moved into the mechanical room and suspended from the building steel. At the narrowest point, there was only 1-1/2″ of clearance to navigate the new AHU’s past the electrical panels and into the mechanical room. A new electrical service was installed that connected to the new AHU’s, along with the wiring of the automatic temperature controls. The hot water heating pipe and new ductwork were also fabricated and installed during this time frame. At one point there were 10 various trade mechanics working on this project in a mechanical room that was less than 600 square feet!

A huge thank you to Rev. Dr. Goode, Mike Baker( Engineer/ Owner Representative), and our Lima Team Paul Van Cott (Sales, Design & Project Management), Tommy Strang (Field Supervision and Coordination).