Florida A&M University (FAMU) was seeing a steady rise in enrollment, which was putting pressure on its student housing. The university needed to upgrade existing structures and explore alternative housing options to offer students stylish and desirable living accommodations with improved amenities. And FAMU needed to accomplish this in a compressed time frame before the fall 2020 students arrived.
The university worked with Finfrock to leverage its DualDeck modular building delivery system to create the new FAMU Towers before students arrived on campus. The buildings are part of a larger development plan that will strengthen the university’s ties with the city of Tallahassee and provide the foundation for FAMU’s expected growth.
More than a dorm
FAMU Towers are two four-story H-shaped structures, each with east and west wings featuring 350 double-occupancy bedrooms and shared bathrooms. The towers are made entirely from precast concrete manufactured at Finfrock’s Apopka, Fla., headquarters.
The tower exteriors feature wood-like panels on the top three floors, framing large rows of windows. The university chose this exterior design to ensure the new towers would fit into the community’s already established look and feel.
Every precast concrete component was created using three-dimensional (3-D) modeling software. Designers used building information modeling (BIM) to integrate the structural and subsystems into one common 3-D model, which helped eliminate manufacturing and construction conflicts during the design phase. Resolution of conflicts at this level eliminated errors and change orders and considerably reduced on-site construction time and disruption to surrounding properties.
Subsystems, including plumbing and electrical, were installed during manufacturing, with laser-guided technology used to indicate the precise location of each system. During production, lasers were used to locate partition layouts and then the products were shipped to the site with lines for field-installed partitions already indicated on the products, which further accelerated construction and reduced on-site labor. Once components were on site, the construction team used PieceTracker, XceleRAYtor, and other technologies to keep the erection process on schedule.
Because the precast concrete spanning members have form-finished floors and ceilings, the products did not require floor prep or hung ceilings. Ceilings could be painted with minimal preparation, and much of the need for interior drywall was eliminated by applying paint directly to concrete walls. The DualDeck system also maximized the use of the structure’s larger open spans, creating central active lounges and community areas at the center of the buildings on each level.
“FAMU Towers were designed with students in mind, not just as places to sleep but as places to function in today’s world,” says FAMU president, Dr. Larry Robinson. “They have study rooms, media rooms, places to eat, laundry rooms, all these kinds of things.”