Happy Days Lodge (Brecksville, OH)


January 1st, 2008 marked the day that Happy Days Visitor Center in Cuyahoga Valley National Park became Happy Days Lodge. The term Happy Days derives from President Franklin Roosevelt's “Happy Days are here again” theme song, which was part of his New Deal, which was to spark building and manufacturing throughout the country. Because of this program, the Civilian Conservation Corps was able to build the Happy Days Visitor Center, which back then was built as a dormitory. It then changed to become Happy Days Visitor Center in 1978.

Recently, the lodge was changed to a special events site that would, at times, house large amounts of people. Due to this, there has always been much speculation whether or not to add air conditioning to the Great Hall of the lodge, which is where most of the people would be during events. Because of the unique “parkitecture” of the old building, James Plush, HVAC Mechanic at Cuyahoga, was at a loss as to how to air condition this particular area. James recalls, “We had limited areas where we could install the equipment and with traditional duct work measuring 22”, we thought that would take away from the historic look of the building and would be too invasive.” Luckily, James had a solution. “I had put in some Unico Systems with my former employer. They were always very quiet and took up substantially less room than traditional duct work.” After contacting Tod Heath, a Unico Representative for Ohio, to find out a little more about the system and it’s benefits for his particular situation, James figured out quickly that The Unico System was the way to go.


One of the first problems James faced was where to put the actual equipment, which consists of 4—5 ton units. James’s colleague devised a way to stack the units, with two units above the other two. This saved a lot of room and also meant that James could start to add the duct—which was another issue James faced. After looking it over, James decided on a shotgun style pattern. James chose 12” double walled plenum, saving him 10” of space over traditional duct. Because of the layout of the facility, James had the registers coming straight off of the plenum, and because the outlets are painted to match the plenum, the entire duct system is virtually out of sight.

All of the Unico equipment, 4—5 ton blowers, 4 A/C coils and 4 hot water coils, is hooked up to 4—5 ton Bryant 15 SEER condensing units and a Bryant high-efficiency boiler.


James recalls when asked what he thinks of The Unico System, “When the system was first started up, we could not believe how quiet the system was. The airflow was excellent. We tested our new system on a 90 plus degree day and despite the building in the upper 80’s and high humidity, we cooled the building down to 75 degrees in under 20 minutes. The following winter we fired up the hot water boiler. The heating system was excellent and it was a very comfortable heat.”