The Mob Museum (National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement)

System overhaul; The Mob Museum (National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement); Westlake Reed Lesosky


The $42 million Mob Museum for the city of Las Vegas rehabilitates the historic former U.S. Post Office and federal courthouse into a contemporary museum, cultural destination, and centerpiece for downtown, while preserving its historic character and spacEngineering firm: Westlake Reed Leskosky
2013 MEP Giants rank:
The Mob Museum (National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement)
Las Vegas, Nev., United States
Building type:
Art/museum venue
Project type:
System overhaul (e.g., mechanical system upgrade, fire protection system overhaul, etc.)
Engineering services:
Automation & Controls, Code Compliance, Electrical/Power, Fire & Life Safety, HVAC, Lighting
Project timeline:
February 2007 to February 2012


Westlake Reed Leskosky was retained by the City of Las Vegas to plan, design, and implement the expansion and adaptive reuse, including exhibit fit-out, of the 1933 Las Vegas U.S. Post Office and Courthouse as a new museum on the history of organized crime and law enforcement and the development of Las Vegas. The $42 million project developed the building and site as a contemporary cultural destination in the heart of downtown Las Vegas, while maintaining the historic integrity of one of the few buildings in the city listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

A major challenge of the project was fitting a full, modern museum program into the existing building, while maintaining the integrity and character of the historic spaces. A key challenge involved the sensitive integration of new, state-of-the-art mechanical and electrical systems. The building was not originally designed for air conditioning and has historic plaster ceilings throughout, with no above-ceiling space to conceal equipment. Additionally, historic preservation concerns meant that no equipment could come within 4 ft of any window, in order to preserve the views and natural light into the building. Also, as a museum, the building needs to accommodate more occupants that it did in its former use, requiring more cooling capacity, ductwork, and air handling units. Finally, the building's program did not allow room for the new air handler units within the building, forcing them to be placed on the roof. However, seeing the air handling units would change the relationship of the historic building to the sky, which could not be allowed. In addition, the existing structure did not have the electrical distribution to serve a modern museum building use.


The solution was to carefully locate all mechanical systems, including ductwork, fire protection piping, electrical ductbanks, and low-voltage wiring, away from windows and out of spaces of primary historical significance. This allowed the most important historic spaces to remain unaltered. However, this caused severe congestion at the ceilings of the less significant spaces. Thorough coordination among the design team and with the contractor was required to ensure that all systems would fit within the space allowed. The new roof-mounted air handler units were placed with the aid of numerous sightline studies and careful equipment selection to ensure that they would not be viewed by a pedestrian from the sidewalk below.

To address the out-of-date electrical system, a new 480 V electrical distribution system with emergency stand-by generator was installed to meet the requirements of a modern museum building. Audio circuits were provided via a segregated distribution system served by an electrostatically shielded isolation transformer to minimize noise. Existing historic luminaires were refurbished for reuse or recreated using energy-efficient sources. New, period-correct energy-efficient luminaires were specified in the historic areas. A central lighting control panel sets scenes throughout exhibit spaces via DMX signals permitting easy reprogramming as exhibits evolve. The system is tied into the fire alarm system for emergency override. Structural reinforcements to the building required selected exterior and interior walls to have shotcrete applied. This, along with the requirement to preserve historically significant areas and the dense mechanical systems, required detailed coordination among the disciplines to place raceway and other systems.

No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Safety for 18 years, warehouse maintenance tips, Ethernet and the IIoT, GAMS 2016 recap
2016 Engineering Leaders Under 40; Future vision: Where is manufacturing headed?; Electrical distribution, redefined
Strategic outsourcing delivers efficiency; Sleeve bearing clearance; Causes of water hammer; Improve air quality; Maintenance safety; GAMS preview
SCADA at the junction, Managing risk through maintenance, Moving at the speed of data
Safety at every angle, Big Data's impact on operations, bridging the skills gap
The digital oilfield: Utilizing Big Data can yield big savings; Virtualization a real solution; Tracking SIS performance
Applying network redundancy; Overcoming loop tuning challenges; PID control and networks
Driving motor efficiency; Preventing arc flash in mission critical facilities; Integrating alternative power and existing electrical systems
Package boilers; Natural gas infrared heating; Thermal treasure; Standby generation; Natural gas supports green efforts

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role of plant safety and offers advice on best practices.
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.
This article collection contains several articles on strategic maintenance and understanding all the parts of your plant.
click me