Skanska USA has nearly completed demolition and has begun structural work on the first major renovation in more than 60 years of the student union building at the University of Washington, Seattle. The $128-million overhaul of the 256,000-sq-ft structure will improve its functionality for a campus student population that has nearly doubled in that time to 50,000.
Don Kowalchuk, Skanska’s project executive, says that nearly six months of hazardous material abatement during demolition has been tricky. The five-story Husky Union Building is set to get completely new mechanical and electrical systems, with 20% of its concrete-and-steel floor area rebuilt to include structural steel and sheer walls for seismic stability. New brick-and-glass curtain-wall systems will replace about 75% of the facade. Construction is set for completion in July 2012.
Originally built in 1949 as a 70,000-sq-ft structure, the building has had four smaller upgrades, but documents on the work are scarce, says Kowalchuk. “We are having to do a lot of field exploratory work,” he says. The structure, which will be built to LEED Gold standards, is being designed by Chicago-based Perkins + Will. The new mechanical system will include new windows throughout that will tie into a new natural ventilation system. The project aims to create more open areas around a new three-level atrium but will preserve a basement bowling alley.