Gonzaga University Kennedy Apartments

GeoEngineers delivered inspection and testing services on an accelerated schedule during reconstruction of the apartments.



Spokane, Washington

Nationally recognized for its academic and athletic programs, Gonzaga University (GU) enrolls over 7,800 students each year. With more than 105 buildings on campus, GU continuously strives to improve campus facilities for faculty, staff and students.

To meet the growing need for upper-classman housing, GU kicked off the multi-use complex project in 2005. The University envisioned that the complex would incorporate student housing and mixed-use amenities–such as a Zag Shop, sun room, in-house bistro and covered parking–while also providing a community lifestyle.

Working closely with GU, ALSC Architects and Walker Construction, GeoEngineers delivered geotechnical engineering, consultation during design and special inspection and testing services during construction of the facility. Local staff used in-house drilling equipment to explore subsurface conditions and obtain soil samples, which were tested in the Spokane laboratory. GeoEngineers provided recommendations for design of the apartment-style building foundations, floor slabs, exterior walkways and pavements. During construction, GeoEngineers’ local technicians were onsite to inspect and test building materials.

In March of 2006, the nearly constructed complex was destroyed by arson, forcing the demolition of the remnants of the structure. Following cleanup efforts, GeoEngineers worked closely with the project team to rebuild the complex on a fast-track schedule. In 2008, 400 upper-classman students moved into the five-story housing units, named the Kennedy Apartments.


Comprehensive analysis of soil conditions

  • Conducted a site reconnaissance and explored subsurface conductions by collecting samples using in-house drill operations
  • Obtained soil samples encountered at frequent intervals and selected representative samples to be tested in GeoEngineers’ in-house laboratory
  • Analyzed collected samples for pertinent physical and engineering properties of the soil relative to the proposed construction

Recommendations for a long-lasting structure

  • Submitted findings, conclusions and recommendations to the owner and design team during final design and construction

Full suite of special inspection and materials testing

  • Monitored construction of the complex, and conducted field and laboratory tests to ensure the contractor complied with appropriate building plans and specifications
  • Tested reinforced concrete during placement and measured entrained air, slump, temperature and other parameters against criteria in the contract documents
  • Completed periodic and continuous inspections, as warranted, for post-tensioned cables and reinforcing bars, placement of concrete and cable tensioning after concrete placement
  • Conducted periodic inspections and in-place density testing of structural fill placed for building foundations, slabs-on-grade, and asphalt concrete pavement parking areas
  • Periodically inspected placement of concrete masonry units (CMU), and wood and steel framing construction

Frequent communication with owner and design team

  • Coordinated with the structural and civil engineers to ensure design was guided by geotechnical recommendations
  • To facilitate the design schedule, provided draft recommendations to the design team and owner before finalizing our final report
  • Assisted the structural engineer in evaluating the appropriate condition of concrete and timing for cable tensioning by testing concrete cylinders on 1-, 3- and 7-day frequencies
  • Worked closely with the team during reconstruction of the complex


  • Completed services on time and under budget by using in-house drilling and laboratory testing equipment
  • Completed SI&T services to assess contractor’s compliance with project plans and specifications
  • Worked with the owner, design team and contractor on a fast-track schedule during reconstruction

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