This project involved nine buildings clustered together on a tight site. The challenges included staging so many structures in such a tight space while adhering to an unheard of schedule – 18 weeks for shell construction of all nine structures. Each structure has its own unique attributes, five are multistory, and the auditorium presented special challenges with sloped floors and 50-ft. ceilings in the gymnasium. Although construction began in the summer of 2002, all nine structures were completed in time for the 2003 school year. Tilt-up allowed the school board to respond to the growing community and provide an educational venue for approximately 1,200 students.
A variety of cast-in form liners added relief to the large structures. One of the ribbed form liners was used in a diagonal fashion to achieve a herringbone pattern. The form liner work was extensive and complex, requiring great attention to detail. Further, visual interest was created by casting themed motifs – about 4 ft. in diameter – that correspond with the building’s purpose.
Getting up to speed
The original Hoover High School Gymnasium in Fresno, Calif., was constructed in 1963 and was characterized as being undersized from the day it opened. Further, not only was the gym too small, it was inaccessible to the physically disabled, which made the need for a new gymnasium critical.
The 27,522-sq.-ft. addition was designed to tie in with the existing gym to create an “Event Center.” Tilt-up was selected for its attributes of low-maintenance, durability and fire-resistance, as well as the need to match the construction of the existing gym. Great use of the juxtaposition of elements and materials made this project stand out in the competition.
Since the new gymnasium was built adjacent to the original facility, the team worked to incorporate a solution that successfully de-emphasized the existing entry to the old gym by providing a new curvilinear raised concrete planter that redirects the circulation pattern. This planter area is landscaped with a row of coast redwood trees to further act as a visual screen of the old entry, which now becomes a secondary entrance to be used only by the students and staff.
Tilt-up concrete construction was selected because it provided a clean facility without numerous interior columns. To minimize the visual impact a big box gymnasium would have on the school, trapezoidal flutes and reveals were utilized to create patterns in the concrete, breaking down the box. With seating for more than 2,800 students with folding chairs on the court, the event center has become the meeting place for districtwide functions that require a large seating capacity.
Ed Sauter is the executive director of the Tilt-Up Concrete Association. This article is the fifth in a year-long series on the applicability of the growing site-cast tilt-up method for a variety of end-use markets. For more information about the TCA and this year’s award winners, visit www.tilt-up.org or contact Ed Sauter at (319) 895-6911 or firstname.lastname@example.org.