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Science Teaching & Student Services, University of Minnesota

The University of Minnesota’s new five-story, $72.5 million Science Teaching and Student Services (STSS) building is home to active learning classrooms, two large lecture halls and numerous student services offices. We were retained to complete the geotechnical evaluation, special inspections, window testing, pre-construction condition surveys and vibration monitoring.

The design of this building produced large structural loads, and we were able to use our soil boring information in conjunction with our knowledge of the bedrock at the University to provide design recommendations for a drilled shaft foundation system to support those loads.

During construction we provided special inspections of the drilled shaft foundations, shallow foundations, concrete (including post-tensioned decks) and structural steel. The building’s façade is composed largely of glass, and we were also able to provide window testing according to AAMA requirements.

Based on the proposed method for demolition of the existing building and the proposed foundation system, we predicted that demolition- and construction-induced vibrations would be minor. However, the nearby Kolthoff Hall housed vibration-sensitive equipment that might be affected by site activity. Our pre-construction condition surveys documented the existing conditions of the nearby buildings, structures, landscaping and pavement, and helped establish reasonable vibration criteria for the contractors.