Virginia Tech, McComas Hall
Numerous structural and serviceability problems plagued Virginia Tech’s McComas Hall, a mixed-use facility housing the recreational sports department and health/counseling centers, since its construction, prompting the university to retain WDP for a comprehensive investigation, design of appropriate repairs, and construction administration services, following the client’s request for a low-impact, phased repair approach spanning a period of six years and four separate construction phases.
Originally constructed in 1998, McComas Hall features a dolomite limestone façade known as “Hokie Stone,” which is the hallmark masonry veneer found throughout the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Va. Excessive efflorescence, or white staining, on the veneer, coupled with systemic water leakage, deterioration of the façade, and cracking and settlement issues with the exterior masonry walls, necessitated a complete condition assessment and investigation of the building enclosure and structural components to determine the root cause of the failures.WDP engineers performed a thorough visual survey of the interior and exterior, employing standard and adapted water testing methods, probe openings, and material testing of the façade components, including the windows, storefront, and masonry wall systems. A geotechnical survey, also conducted by WDP, indicated severe building settlement on the east side of the structure, and a prioritized repair approach to correct the structural and building enclosure deficiencies was presented to University.
Masonry repairs began in September 2007 and included the removal and re-anchoring of the stone veneer, repair to the flashing systems, and structural repairs, following a carefully phased approach to maintain full occupancy of the building, along with litigation support to recover the cost of repairs to the facility caused by design deficiencies and faulty workmanship. By October 2008, the second phase of repairs commenced to correct McComas’ south and east elevations. During this phase, WDP worked closely with the design architect of a planned building expansion on the south end of the building in 2010, to integrate repairs between the projects, and in some cases incorporate the exterior walls on the interior of the building to minimize the impact of the repairs. The third and fourth phases proceeded in 2011 to complete the structural and architectural repair program for the remaining elevations of the building. All repairs were successfully completed in 2013.