School’s In

The Smithfield Middle School gymnasium addition won Best Schools K-12 Building.

Students at two schools recognized in the 2021 Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute Design Awards program will enjoy new recreation spaces thanks to advanced building practice. Smithfield Middle School (North Richland Hills, Texas) and Boston College (Chestnut Hill, Mass.) are home to the winning projects: a gymnasium addition that plays double duty as a storm shelter and a new recreation center, respectively.

PCI-certified precast concrete producer and specialty engineer Coreslab Structures, Oklahoma City, was behind the 70 precast concrete elements for the Smithfield Middle School project. The combination of 12-in.-thick wall panels and 48-in.-deep double tees renders the storm shelter capable of withstanding an EF5 tornado. “Lightweight precast concrete double tees provided a solution that allowed for greater than 100-foot roof spans, minimized structure depth, and provided space for the installation of mechanical equipment,” says Nick Heinlen, project engineer for Dunaway Associates of Fort Worth, Texas.

Boston College’s new precast concrete recreation center is helping to redefine the academic institution’s culture of fitness and recreation. The 245,000-sq.ft. facility houses a fitness center, rock-climbing wall, jogging track, aquatics center, and yoga studios. The structure includes two long-span precast concrete frame types that deliver a unique combination of pre-tensioning, hard-bar post-tensioning, and unbonded strand post-tensioning. It is supplemented by conventional mild-steel reinforcement to deliver a column-free space. In addition to gravity loads, the frames provide lateral force-resistance to satisfy seismic performance criteria.

The large-span frames each feature five precast concrete components from PCI-certified producer Unistress Corporation of Pittsfield, Mass. To ensure the highest level of control, the project was accomplished with a staged construction analysis, where each stage required consideration of prestressing and shoring to avoid cracks in the concrete and to support subsequent construction work.

The Boston College Recreation Center won Best Higher Education/University Building.

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