Whitt Hall

Whitt Hall

Constructed in 1928, Whitt Hall (originally named McGuffey Hall) is an academic building on the campus of Radford University. Whitt Hall was constructed with load bearing brick masonry walls, steel joist and concrete floors, and embedded structural steel lintels over rough openings. As a transitional era building, the structural steel elements were embedded directly into and bearing upon the masonry wall systems. The attic framing system was constructed of wood framing and decking that bear on interior and exterior masonry walls.

Many modifications had been made to the building over the years including replacement of the original windows, reconfiguration of the interior spaces, installation of heating and air conditioning systems above drop ceilings, and installation of handicap access points in the building.  However, for the most part, the building had retained its primary look and character for almost 90 years without significant repair or maintenance to the exterior beyond roof gutter improvements and window reconfigurations.

At the request of the University, WDP was engaged to perform a condition assessment of the exterior façade and roofing to identify conditions that would need to be corrected or improved during a scheduled renovation of the 28,827 SF building. Conceptual repair recommendations were developed to be incorporated into this renovation with the intent to provide a minimum 50-year service life extension for the University.

WDP’s evaluation included visual, tactile and probe observations of the exterior façade, windows, cast stone, and slate roofing elements. The evaluation also included masonry wall water penetration rate and leakage testing. Our evaluation determined that the brick masonry wall systems were overall in good condition for a structure of its age; however, select repairs were recommended to address movement in the exterior wythe of the masonry due to fractured headers or insufficient lateral restraint around embedded steel elements.

Based upon the results of the masonry water penetration testing and observation of water leakage in select areas, tuck pointing was recommended to improve the overall water penetration resistance of the wall system. Flashing was not observed on spandrel beams or loose laid lintels, which was leading to corrosion and expansion into the masonry resulting in cracking in the exterior wythe.

WDP observed the original slate roof to be leaking mostly due to deteriorated underlayment, therefore, it was recommended to be replaced. In addition, the wood deck boards in many of these locations were visibly stained and damaged, and often, the slate shingles could be seen through the damaged deck boards. As a result, damaged wood beams, joists and decking were also recommended to be repaired or replaced in local areas of deterioration.

WDP also provided an engineer’s cost estimate for construction based on the areas and types of repairs that were recommended, as well as conceptual drawings detailing the general locations where each repair should take place.