The $4.8-million, 15,000-sq-ft River Center houses the sailing and crew programs, as well as the new biology research lab for St. Mary’s College in St. Mary’s City, Md.

River Center St. Mary�s City, Md.
Photo: Paul Burke

Because the River Center site is on a historic landmark campus, the project included an extensive excavation of historic artifacts that were cataloged and preserved throughout the construction process.

The site is located along the St. Mary’s River on a riverbed that had been filled in with debris from the original building on the site, which burned in a fire. It’s also located on the lowest point of St. Mary’s campus, and runoff from two uphill plateaus drain onto the site.

To keep the building from sinking, KBE Building Corp. of Farmington, Conn., installed 48 augur-cast piles, 100 ft deep. KBE also built a pond to collect runoff during construction.

Key Players

Owner: St. Mary’s College of Maryland, St. Mary’s City, Md.
General Contractor: KBE Building Corporation, Farmington, Conn.
Architect: Muse Architects, PC, Bethesda, Md.
Structural Engineer: Ehlert/Byran, Inc., McLean, Va.
Civil Engineer: A Morton Thomas and Associations, Inc., Rockville, Md.
Consulting Engineer: Siegel, Rutherford, Bradstock & Ridgeway, Inc., Catonsville, Md.

Green building was a major owner goal, so KBE installed 36 geothermal wells to reduce energy costs, and St. Mary’s plans to use the savings to fund future green initiatives. Despite the green strategies, the college opted not to certify the project with the U. S. Green Building Council.