The construction of the Humanities and Social Studies Complex (HSSC) continues on schedule.  The foundation and basement structure is nearly complete, with only the northeast corner left to finish. Many utility lines have been placed underneath the basement floor. Two of the four elevator shafts have been constructed. As you might have noticed, there are three cranes on site, requiring the operators to pay close attention to what each is doing in three dimensions.

Steel is being installed to support and form the first floor, and that allows the area around the basement walls to be filled in with gravel and to level the site. Note that we use gravel rather than soil to fill in outside the foundation as there is perforated piping around the base of the foundation and water percolates through the gravel to the pipe and can be drained away, rather than leaking through the foundation or basement walls. Once the steel is installed, metal decking is being attached to it and a concrete slab will be poured onto that deck. The steel beams that will form the above ground structure will be erected over the next few months, and you will be able to get a sense of the mass of the building. Once the steel structure is set, metal studs will be installed around the perimeter, followed by the exterior ‘skin’ (metal panels brick, etc.).

In general, the construction will start at the south and move towards the north. The emergency generator and major air handling equipment will be arriving soon and installed in the basement. In the near future, the Zirkle sculpture will be relocated to outside of the construction area and nearer the Noyce Science Center. The western benches around the sun dial will be removed and the construction fence will be moved a bit east to allow truck traffic around the building, inside the fence.

The geothermal wells, which will provide very energy efficient heating and cooling, have been installed in Mac Field and work is occurring to tie each of the vertical wells together. Once that is completed the field will be graded and grass will be seeded. Since the grass will take a while to become well enough established to withstand foot traffic, Mac Field will remain closed until the late spring or summer of 2018. Large pipes are being installed to connect the wells to HSSC, running underground, below 8th Avenue and into the basement of HSSC. That has been accomplished by lateral boring and not having to dig up 8th Avenue or much of the pathway. 

While construction is underway, we have been finalizing some design details such as the placement of floor boxes for AV functions and convenience power, location of tack boards and other displays, and fine-tuning corridor lighting.

More interesting facts about the construction thus far:

  • We are currently averaging 55-60 workers onsite each day
  • Over 37,000 cubic yards (nearly 400 truckloads) of spoils have been removed
  • The concrete foundation is supported by over 700 rammed aggregate piers
  • Over 2,700 cubic yards (over 270 truckloads) of concrete foundations have been placed to date
  • Over 6900 tons of rock has been delivered for backfill around basement
  • The tower crane has a radius of 230’ feet and is 148’ tall to top of mast

A live webcam showing the construction is now available (click Watch the Transformation).

This fall we will begin looking at and selecting furnishings for classrooms, public spaces, and offices. ITS will also be working with us and our AV consultant to design the AV and computer systems for the classrooms and labs. We are currently selecting a firm to assist with some of the interior, including wayfinding, donor recognition, and neighborhood and other ‘branding’ to help this building be a distinctive humanities and social studies facility.

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