As a firefighter, Bill Ronayne was witness to the 2017 inferno that destroyed part of Barclay Friends, the senior living community in West Chester. Now, as owner of Brandywine Valley Heating and Air Conditioning, his company will play a big part in the construction of Barclay’s new personal care building that will offer quality healthcare services for years to come.
“It was pretty horrific,” Ronayne said of the five-alarm fire that ravaged the Woolman building, which included assisted living residences, dining and common areas, and administrative space. “My son and I are both volunteer firefighters in the borough, and we responded that night to the call.”
With the need to reopen the skilled nursing center as soon as possible, Ronayne’s company was initially called upon to help design a new boiler room and install new mechanical systems. Since then, Brandywine Valley Heating and Air Conditioning has been selected as the mechanical contractor for the new facility, to be named the Preston building in honor of Ann Preston, a Quaker doctor and educator. Warfel Construction will serve as the general contractor.
“We started on the design concept for the new building in the spring of 2018,” said Ronayne. “Joe DiPierro, who is head of our commercial division, was instrumental in designing the new boiler room, so he took the lead in helping design the new building, along with the architect and engineer. Brandywine will be doing all the heating and air conditioning; everything that has to do with comfort conditioning of the building will be handled by us.”
With the concrete walls and footings currently being set, Ronayne expects his HVAC team to begin work in late August, starting with a crew of eight installation people for the piping and duct work. Overall, he expects his company to contribute more than 800 manhours to the project by the time it is ready for occupancy in 2020.
Once the project is complete, Brandywine Valley Heating and Air Conditioning will continue maintenance, which will include utilizing a sophisticated control system that works over the Internet to manage the heating and cooling of the building.
“Because it’s a nursing home, the ventilation and individual temperature control is very important,” said Ronayne. “We’ve been taking care of that facility, doing service and maintenance since 2009, and we have sort of taken them under our wing.”
For more than 25 years, Brandywine Valley Heating and Air Conditioning has also helped West Chester and the surrounding communities through its philanthropy.
In June, the company was the presenting sponsor of the 21st Annual Challenge for Cancer Bike Tour that benefits the Abramson Cancer Center at Chester County Hospital and Neighborhood Health Hospice. Ronayne, a cancer survivor, rode 30 miles at this year’s event. He is also proud of raising funds to benefit the local Outward Bound Girls Leadership Program by rappelling 29 stories down a Center City building in May.
But it is the effort on the construction of the new Preston building on the Barclay Friends’ campus that Ronayne considers the most satisfying for him and his company to be involved with.
“It’s right down the street from our shop, so it’s natural for us to do the project,” he said. “It’s important for us, and we’re happy to be part of it.”
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