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CU Dormitory Renovation Improves Quality of Student Life

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Photo courtesy of Kiewit
The addition integrated the new building into the existing architectural design of Kittredge Complex.
Photo courtesy of Kiewit
The renovated and expanded dormitory features one-, two- and three-bedroom suites, offices and common areas.
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2012 Best Project

Renovation/Restoration Category

Smith Hall Addition and Renovation

Boulder, Colo.

Smith Hall is a 56,000-sq-ft renovation coupled with a 38,600-sq-ft addition on the University of Colorado campus in Boulder. The renovated and expanded dormitory features one-, two- and three-bedroom suites, offices, common areas, lounges, laundry rooms and storage spaces, all in keeping with the campus' iconic Tuscan design.

The renovation of Smith Hall was the fourth step in the process of renovating all of the dorms in the Kittredge Complex. The addition integrated the new building into the existing architectural design of the complex, including the project team's efforts to match stones that were quarried 45 years ago. Smith Hall's aging exterior elements were replaced and improved, along with the building systems and interior spaces of the existing 1960s residence hall.

Tying new components into an existing facility requires a detailed knowledge of its building systems. A dormitory with complex mechanical, electrical, plumbing and sprinkler requirements demands even more collaboration and integration of systems than a traditional office building. To detect potential system clashes, reduce in-field change orders and maximize the use of prefabricated materials, virtual modeling was used on all major elements of the building's core and the surrounding site. CU Boulder saw an increase in savings because the team installed many types of prefabricated materials that reduced time and manpower.

The project team overcame unforeseen challenges through active, diligent planning and well-established lines of communication. For instance, when faced with two existing structural columns that did not allow for the open floor plan CU Boulder expected, close collaboration with the structural engineer helped to replace the existing columns without compromising schedule or budget.

The project team kept student, faculty and pedestrian safety in mind while working on a campus of more than 30,000 students. Kiewit completed the project with zero recordable accidents. The design-build team produced an energy-efficient facility that is seeking LEED-Gold certification.

Key Players

Owner: University of Colorado, Boulder, Colo.

Architect: Bennett, Wagner and Grody, Denver

General Contractor: Kiewit Building Group, Englewood, Colo.

Civil Engineer: Brown Engineering, Lafayette, Colo.

Structural Engineer: Reizian Structural Engineers LLC, Evergreen, Colo.

MEP: Design Mechanical Inc., Louisville, Colo.

Entry submitted by Kiewit Building Group Inc.


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