WWU Miller Hall Renovation Achieves LEED® Gold Certification

Western Washington University’s newly renovated Miller Hall has been certified LEED® Gold by the US Green Building Council. GeoEngineers provided geotechnical engineering and construction monitoring services for the renovation.

The two-year, $51.5 million-dollar project included an overhaul of all building systems and elements and renovation of general university classrooms, computer labs, instructional spaces, offices and support facilities.

The updated 134,000 square-foot building incorporates a number of sustainable features and practices. Especially notable is a “green roof” that crowns a new student gathering place and saves heating and cooling costs, insulates sound and reduces stormwater runoff.

Supporting a Building Built on a Peat Bog

WWU’s campus has widely variable site conditions with bedrock and a buried peat bog under Miller Hall. Piles support the original 1940 building and a 1967 addition. The crawl space of the original building was excavated for a basement, which was not supported by the piles and consequently experienced chronic settlement problems.

Project plans called for constructing a new pile-supported structural basement floor, removal and replacement of pile-supported shear walls, and a pile-supported courtyard and green roof structure. Working with the design team, GeoEngineers developed a design to maximize use of structural capacity of existing piles, and then used micropiles that could be installed in the basement with low-overhead equipment and yet still penetrate into the bedrock. We also provided recommendations to temporarily stabilize the peat surface in order to construct the piles and structural slab.

During construction, we observed the micropile installation and worked with the contractor, design team and owner to optimize design and construction methods, based on the subsurface conditions encountered and the difficult work environment.

Several Northwest companies contributed to the success of the project:

  • Mahlum Architects
  • Dawson Construction, general contractor and project manager
  • Coughlin Porter Lundeen, civil and structural engineers
  • GeoEngineers, geotechnical engineers
  • CDI Engineers, mechanical engineers
  • Sparling, electrical services
  • Berger Partnership, landscape architects

To learn more about the Miller Hall renovation, check out WWU’s website.

Photo by Maddy Mixter, WWU University Communications intern. Used by permission.

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