Proj Overview

Project Overview

This 85,000 SF, 4-story structure is Valparaiso University's first residence hall built entirely with precast concrete. Designed in the "neo-Gothic" style, the designers were able to incorporate many intricate details, such as bay windows and gabled roofs, into the precast design so that the building fit in perfectly with the rest of the campus architecture. The Construction Manager chose a precast structure due to an aggressive 12-month construction timeline, which was required to ensure that the dormitory opened at the beginning of the Fall 2014 semester. Built in the shape of the number "7", Building Information Modeling (BIM) was a valuable tool for the designers to ensure constant collaboration between structural and architectural functions. Hollow core floor and roof planks provided a shallow structure depth that could span from an architectural precast exterior wall to a structural precast corridor wall. The reduction in floor to floor heights saved money due to less exterior facade square footage.

The project broke ground in July 2013, and precast erection took place from November 2013 - April 2014 with the building dedication taking place later that year in August. 

Precast Solution

Total precast structure, with solid exterior arch. precast load bearing panels, solid interior structural gray precast load bearing panels, hollow core floor and roof planks, precast stair and landing units, and arch. precast bay window units. The CM utilized pre-fabricated bathroom modules that had to be slid into the structure, the precast aided this work by being able to leave off an entire elevation of panels, giving the other trades wide open access to each floor. 


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Project Team


Valparaiso University 


FGM Architects, Chicago, IL 


KJWW Engineering Consultants, Rock Island, IL 

General Contractor

Mortenson Construction, Chicago, IL 


Coreslab Structures (Indianapolis) 

Precast Specialty Engineer


Key Project Attributes

  • Worked with design team in Building Information Modeling, uploading precast structure models regularly to ensure coordination with other trades.
  • Accelerated Construction- Saved three months off construction schedule relative to brick and block. Critical for completing the building at the start of the Fall Semester.
  • Reduced Detailing, Reduced Trades- large precast panels on exterior minimize construction joints, ensuring a long-lasting and low maintenance structure.
  • Structural Versatility- Able to incorporate large openings at ground floor (both on exterior and on interior) to create a very open floor plan, hang bay window boxes off structure, create gabled roof lines, create sloped monolithic fireplace panels that really enhanced the design.
  • Aesthetic Versatility- Integral arch. finishes (thin brick, cornices and banding) sped up construction schedule, allowed building to get dried in faster, which was critical to meet the project schedule. 

Project/Precast Scope

  • 76,000 sq. ft. of 8” hollow core plank
  • 27,700 sq ft. of 8" thick solid structural gray interior panels
  • 31,600 sq. ftof 9" solid thin brick arch. precast exterior panels
  • 700 sq. ft of precast bay windows
  • 2,500 sq. ft.  of precast stair & landing units
  • 26 sq. ft. of 2" thick precast medallions
  • 80 sq. ft. of 4" arch. precast interior fireplace panels.
  • Total of (1,072) pieces of precast